How does Google collect live traffic data?
Recently Google has started sharing live traffic data in Dhaka. In a country like Bangladesh, believe it or not, it’s not an easy job.
Bangladesh doesn’t have a traffic infrastructure which can collect traffic data, let alone process it to predict traffic patterns. But Google takes a whole new approach to solve this problem. They count the number of online phones (only the one’s who share location data with google) in a street and treat them as cars. This method is not perfect, but yet functional. I really appreciate how simple this approach is.
You’ve probably allowed Google to have your location data once you were configuring your Android phone for first time use with your Google account. Probably you don’t even know what I’m talking about. But it’s okay! I keep talking about prvacy and people don’t really care unless someone breached their privacy. Sorry, I digress. Anyways, Google feeds your location data to its mainframes and the computer processes these data using machine learning algorithms and analyses where you work, where you live, what is your favorite restaurant, everything. They can even understand which road takes have more traffic jam, because they can see a few different phones were driving, but suddenly stopped for a few minutes. Google can suggest you the fastest route by analysing and predicting traffic patterns. All these might seem magical, but none of them are. They’re are just crunching data you gave them.
So, now you know how Google gets the traffic data and it’s not another internet hoax. So, you better believe google when it suggests you the fastest route.
If more people start allowing Google access their location, this service will improve and be more accurate. So, I don’t know, maybe you sharing location data with trusted companies isn’t that bad.
P.S.: Never give your Google account access to anyone else if you start sharing data with Google.