Google Maps gets improved traffic alerts in time for Memorial Day


google maps

Google has detailed a new update for Google Maps that’ll help you avoid the dreadful result of a busy society: congested traffic. The company’s improved traffic alerts will now let you know if there is heavy traffic en route to your destination and will let you select an alternate route, if available.

The app will also update you on traffic conditions once you’ve already started your journey. It’ll let you know if congestion lies ahead, and — if so — will attempt to estimate how long you’ll be stuck. All of this is in preparation for the upcoming Memorial Day, though the feature will obviously stick well beyond that.

Google says the update will be in Google Play in time for the weekend so be sure to keep an eye out if you think you’ll need the future ahead of then.

[via Google]

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. I bet this îs AGAIN an “Only in US” feature! Slowly but syrely, Google will loose a lot of customers if continues to promote “Not available in your country” services and features. I’m on this way, too…

    1. Could it have something to do with different internet restrictions? I mean, if they went through the process of having every country prepared, it could take longer than it needs to. So they slowly push out their internet software to different countries as they get the proper approvals.

      1. I don’t think there are any internet restrictions involved. From SoCal I just called up maps and had a look at France – I can tell you that when I wrote this traffic in Paris was a mess, with a good number of accidents reported through Waze. The information, in other words, is available now. I don’t see any technical reason why this would be kept from other countries.

      2. You can select offline before you leave if you think you may hit a dead spot, it will then pre-render your travel and use GPS to coincide with Google Maps.

    2. that maybe because of regulations in other countries. Not to mention that they need approval to push certain updates to their software depending on the country.

      1. About 1 year ago I’ve seen a new launcher in GP Store. But that launcher “was not available in my country”! What’s wrong in an Android launcher to be unavailable in a country?! It seems the globalization concept isn’t applied worldwide :)

  2. Got it last night. I love this.

  3. I assume this is all voice driven, right?

    “Delays ahead. Alternate routes available. Would you like to re-route?”


    “Re-routing. Take next exit to … This will save minutes based on traffic information.”

    Or did Google half as~ this too?

    1. I’ve had Google Maps ask me if I want to take a different route before. I had to click the yes button. I never tried saying “yes”.

    2. I agree, if the cops catch you screwing around with the maps app…
      Or worse, you could get into an accident.

    3. I believe you can use OK Google command in Google Maps. I personally have OK Google turned off. Before this update Maps does show alternate routes with faster or slower and by how long as you drive by. You can just take the new route and it will correct itself. Your did Google half as~ part of your comment. I’m guessing you don’t have Google Maps or you wouldn’t be asking, hence you’re likely using iPhone or something else. Google Maps works great, only thing I’ve ever encountered that was off was a one way street once. You can easily send feedback to correct this. Google Maps is probably the most robust map program for driving. What is great is that it links to your Google account and makes things like creating appointments and using recent locations to assist in creating appointments. Then it all integrates with notifications and will tell you when you need to leave to make it in time for an appointment. If there is an accident it will warn you that you may even have to leave a little sooner to get there on time.

    4. It’s not a dedicated GPS unit. If you want that get a Tomtom, Garmin, etc. And it seems you don’t use Google Maps, so what service allows voice interaction without touch?

  4. Maps already let you know if there was any heavy traffic en route, but I appreciate now being told how long the traffic will hold you up.

    What I’d like to see them do now is provide a little more information about when congestion causing incidents occur, especially for crowd-sourced incident reporting (via Waze). A 5 minute backup for an accident that happen ten minutes ago is likely to become worse. A 5 minute backup for an accident that happened an hour ago is probably dissipating. As it is now there’s no way of knowing until you get there.

  5. Sounds like they are trying to catch up with the WAZE traffic navigation app.

    1. Google owns waze, all of these new features are being integrated directly from waze, using waze data mostly. Waze is in some ways Google maps beta now.

    2. Google owns Waze.

  6. Weirdly that left screenshot is showing a location on the airfield at O’Hare. The double road at the left edge is the upper and lower terminal roads (departures/arrivals) at Terminal 5 (International). The train station is the ATS (train between terminals and parking). The dark grey paths on the right and in front are taxiways. The furthest one, left to right passing under the mic icon is a runway. If you were in this spot you’d be driving a fuel or catering or luggage truck past about gate M16 or so.

  7. I’m still trying to figure out, after purchasing Waze, why the two have not been integrated somehow. I don’t mind because I use Waze for side streets and Google Maps for longer trips, but I’ve been hoping that they’d combine the two navigation apps at some point.

    1. Purchasing?

        1. I misread that sorry, I thought you were saying you purchased waze and was very confused. Also they’ve integrated quite a few features into maps from waze, and quite a bit more listings for stores from google into waze. It’s a slow steady process. Also i like how waze pulls data from places other than google, like gas prices from gasbuddy are starting to get integrated as well as waze reported prices.

    2. Google uses Waze inputs for things like traffic and accidents. It is integrated you just don’t see it on the surface. This is how I understand it. Google didn’t want people who use Waze to have their experience change. They basically bought it to use their data without infringing.

      1. Interesting, cuz whenever I use google maps/nav, it might show the traffic level color, but it is spotty (sometimes there, sometimes not), but no realtime data integration with other things, like construction zone, potholes, police, traffic cameras.

        1. I definitely get construction and accidents. Likely only when Waze users report them. I just remember Google saying when it bought Waze it was for the metadata. They had no intention of changing Waze. As a matter of fact I believe there wasn’t a takeover or anything.

          1. Yeah, I remember reading articles where Google had mentioned that. They also had mentioned having no intent of selling the hardware side of Motorola off, but they did it after 2 short years. I thought there’d be at least more seamless integration with Google Now though, at the bare minimum. Like, I’d love to use the voice activation to navigate somewhere, but have Google Now link it or ask me if I wanted to use Waze or Google Nav. That way, I could keep with my same structure of using Google Nav for longer distance driving and Waze driving around side streets. In L.A., especially, it makes a huge difference for me.

          2. Pretty sure you can, you just need to know the key words and sentence structure required to do so. Depending on the version of phone and software some features may not be available. I use a Nexus 5 with Android 5.1 I’ve personally turned off OK Google voice detection. Had a friend who would yell OK Google when using my phone and it would interrupt what I was doing just to be that guy. Some friend huh. LOL

            Another option of it is buggy is to uninstall then reinstall Google Maps or clearing cache in app settings. My phone only allowed me to revert back to factory Google Maps that came with phone by uninstalling all updates.

          3. Google Now has personal voice recognition as far as I know since the wake screen update. My phone only responds to my saying (unless this is only a Oneplus One feature).

          4. You can definitely set Waze as default in google now, although I don’t know if you can switch back and forth via voice. the probably with voice activation is if it requires more than just a step or 2, it’s quicker to just use shortcuts on home screen. so too many options makes it pointless. especially with the current delay for waiting for a second voice input.

          5. Thanks, Max! I didn’t even know that. Just never bothered to check how to switch it.The only thing that would make it relevant for me to be able to direct it to either Waze or Google Nav is with the hands free laws in L.A., if I’m on the road, it’d be convenient for me to say “Navigate to…using Waze” or “using Google Maps”. I appreciate the info though. I’ll check through to see how I can get my Google Now to connect to Waze.

  8. Now if someone could distinguish the difference between accident and incident on Google Maps? Is the accident more serious than the incident, is the cut off a certain amount of delay?

    The yellow ! is for incident, and the little red crashed car is accident
    (looked like a bunch of hotels at first and it was making me mad that Google would start advertising on Maps overview)
    I just saw a bunch of new symbols today while navigating. I’ve never used Waze.

  9. I’d be chuffed to learn that Google’s going to introduce greater support for this party TTS apps. Anyone hear about this being in the works?

  10. Doesnt maps already do this? I’m confused now ?

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