Google unsurprisingly has announced that its elite maps service would provide live traffic data to 130 new U.S cities, which include cities like Kalamazoo, Michigan, Tuscaloosa, Alabama and capitals like Colombia, Costa Rica, and Panama. It has also increased its reach in China and many other European nations, which brings the tally to 50 countries where Google provides traffic surveillance- a number worth bragging.
Google took up a demiurgic route to building the world’s largest traffic surveillance system by launching 400 million surveying snippets (smartphones). Google when provides you remote directions via its mobile app, it is also silently tracking your movements down.
Wait, before your mind starts jumping to any premature conclusions, let me clear the air. Though Google tracks where you are, it does not know who you are. For Google, it’s just some anonymous snippets moving up and down on the latitudes and longitudes. They just want to know if you’ve paddled up or slowed down. Why and for whom, that’s of no concern.
Tangibly speaking, it’s quite apparent that Google does not rely entirely on avid smartphone users for predicting traffic accurately. If that was the case, traffic prediction would have always been below par as the probability of people driving with Android smartphones and running Google Maps on their devices while driving is elusive to the nth degree.
However, Google believes otherwise. Though Google refused to disclose how many Android users a city needs for accurate traffic surveillance, it believes it has enough bot-power for accurate traffic- surveying. Google also has satellite-surveillance systems and local authorities at its bay, which also help in transcending the pervasive reach of Google devised systems.
Google however accredits its increased reach to increased smartphone sales in U.S in the last two quarters. With the increased number of Android devices, the traffic analysing system has become even more accurate and diversified.
Google with so much imperium is also looking forward to designing systems which would be able to intuitively forecast traffic jams at places. In fact, there are talks about an app which can prevent traffic jams by informing its users well in advance about the future traffic scenario.
Google’s increased reach would haunt Apple, which had decided to part ways by developing its very own app for Maps. The move also is an impertinent attempt by Apple Inc. to project itself as an independent tech-giant in the smartphone arena.
Though Apple is confident of providing its users sophisticated navigational services by buying several technology companies like C3 and providing the much coveted 3D map-support, whether the service would be able to reach as many people as Google Maps does still remains a question. Google currently boasts of its 400 million Android devices mark, while figures released by Apple state that the company has so far launched 244 million iPhones worldwide. Though the numbers are substantially large for Apple, they are highly segregated as only the cash-rich countries come under the Apple radar. (There is remarkably lower intake of iPhones in the poorer nations)
However, the question is not whether Apple would be able to provide traffic-surveillance system considering its mediocre reach. The more important question nevertheless is would it able to outfox Google and develop a better solution for the main-stream audience? And if developed, would it be ‘open’ for everyone to use or would it be hog-tied to only the rich and fluffy iPhone breed.