March 1, 2007

How much will my commute suck today? Ask Google

Filed under: aol, google, local search, maps, yahoo — Rakesh Agrawal @ 5:52 pm

I was checking out Google Maps yesterday and noticed the addition of traffic to the map. It showed that traffic for the ride home was much worse than I’ve ever seen on a Wednesday night. Figuring it was a first-day glitch, I took the usual route home. I should have listened to the computer.

Although Google has had traffic on their mobile maps product since July 2006 (and Yahoo! has had it on Yahoo! Maps for even longer), this is a welcome addition. I’ve used Yahoo! Maps, and a few others, but this the first one that I’ve bookmarked.

The primary reason is that it’s easy to use and understand — one glance at the screen and I have a good sense of how much my commute will suck. Google also has coverage of Interstate 66 inside the Capital Beltway, which I haven’t seen on any of the other sites.

That said, it’s still a marginally useful tool. In the time it takes me to shut down the computer, get in the car and start my commute it’s very possible that a fresh accident 10 miles away will prolong my commute.

There are a couple of ways to make the data much more useful:

  • Alert me when my commute is going to suck more than usual. I would love a gadget that shows significant differences from the typical day. I know my commute is going to suck; if it’s going to be especially hellish, I can get more things done at the office.
  • Use historical traffic data in calculating map routings. When I started at AOL, my development team was part of the Mapquest group in Lancaster, Pa. When we were planning a visit, they told us to ignore the Mapquest directions – during the hours we were driving, it would take us an extra 90 minutes because of traffic on the Beltway. The driving directions tool could prompt users for when they plan to travel and route accordingly.
About these ads


  1. [...] Road this morning because a car caught on fire a mile or so ahead of me. (Yes, that’s two back-to-back hellish commutes.) As I watched the helicopter hover above the car, I thought about what a great metaphor the [...]

    Pingback by My commute as a metaphor for user-generated content « reDesign — March 1, 2007 @ 8:10 pm

  2. [...] How much will my commute suck today? Ask Google Posted by Rocky Agrawal Filed in satellite navigation, maps, google [...]

    Pingback by Google Maps adds traffic time estimates « reDesign — August 1, 2007 @ 3:28 pm

  3. [...] building outlines, photos, public transit, Street View, neighborhoods, user-generated content and live traffic. Google has driven much of this innovation, although to be fair MapQuest had aerial imagery first [...]

    Pingback by Past, present and future of online maps « reDesign — August 5, 2009 @ 11:56 am

  4. [...] stations, elevation profiles, bike routes, neighborhoods, user-generated content and real-time traffic. With one click, we can see aerial imagery or ground-level views. Google has now gotten into [...]

    Pingback by Apple v. Google will define the fourth wave of online mapping | VentureBeat — September 25, 2012 @ 11:38 am

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

The Silver is the New Black Theme. Blog at


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 227 other followers

%d bloggers like this: