An act of kindness doesn’t take much; an oncoming car flashing their brights to warn drivers of a speed trap ahead, or a coworker sending an email informing the office that a road on the way out of town is closed. Helping others is fulfilling, even if the results don’t affect friends or coworkers. Google Maps has made it possible for users to warn fellow travelers of traffic delays by adding alerts provided by Waze app users.
Google recently acquired Waze, which is a free GPS app that provides a social platform for “outsmarting traffic, together.” Users who drive with the app open are contributing to traffic data, which colors the roads on the Waze map green, yellow, or red depending on delay level. They can also actively drop pins in locations where traffic is heavier or presents a potential delay, such as a heavy traffic jam, a car stopped on a shoulder, a hidden police trap, or a hazard on the road.
In Google Maps, clicking “Show Traffic” shows travelers what Waze users have encountered on the road in real time. Google removed Waze’s social capabilities to show users only what is necessary for getting around without an issue, with icons for incidents, accidents, and road closures, and color-coded roads.
The addition brings a new dimension to Google Maps. With real-time updates from fellow travelers, users can depend on the app for more than just GPS and directions.
What do you think? Do you see yourself using Google Maps strictly for traffic alerts on your daily drives?