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Google Offering Live Traffic Maps via Cell Phones 178

Kranfer writes "Reuters is covering the newest offering from Google: real-time traffic mapping on your cell phone. Now you can check how the traffic is ahead of you, of course as long as you don't cause the traffic incident yourself by checking the local issues on your cell phone while driving. Point your cell phone browser to to get your local traffic maps if you live within one of the 30 U.S. cities where this is available."
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Google Offering Live Traffic Maps via Cell Phones

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  • I don't like this (Score:4, Insightful)

    by millisa ( 151093 ) on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @11:27AM (#15776275)
    Normally I am supportive of google and their endeavors . . . but I would argue that doing anything to *encourage* someone to be on their phone while driving wouldn't fall under the mantra 'Dont be evil'. It's bad enough people are talking and text messaging, but giving those retards who can't drive already an incentive to be less attentive . . .

    You KNOW the times it'll be most hit is when people are stuck in traffic, which is when they should be most attentive to the road, not to their toys.

    Bleh to this.
  • by Skreems ( 598317 ) on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @11:35AM (#15776341) Homepage
    Personally, I would use this to check out my route BEFORE getting in the car, as that's when I'd need to know which route to take. Putting it on a cell phone is just handy because terminals aren't always available.

    I am curious why they don't have a "show traffic" option on their normal web-based interface, though... you'd think it would be pretty wildly popular with people about to leave to/from work.
  • by millisa ( 151093 ) on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @11:36AM (#15776356)
    Similar, but not the same. Navigational tools have hardware designed for that purpose. They are made with few buttons that can relay directions with the least amount of distraction. Cell phones generally aren't made this way since for some reason in the last 5 years they are to be the all-in-one wonder device (rather than a phone...). It means people will spend more time fiddling with the devices than they have any right to while driving a machine that can easily take lives. Even if there were 'hands-free' options created, I no more want some doof who's easily distracted using his phone than I want my doctor talking on his phone with a hands free kit while operating on me.

    Radios aren't the same as they are passive devices (except for those ADD types who can't leave the dial alone, and in that case, they are just as bad . .not a justification for something that is worse to be 'ok').

    If it takes your eyes off the road, it is bad. Plain and simple. Live traffic updates on a cell phone is just about guaranteed to do this.
  • I agree with that (Score:3, Insightful)

    by millisa ( 151093 ) on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @11:39AM (#15776374)
    I agree with you. I would use it on my consoles before going anywhere. The fact it is available on a phone is convenient and if most people were like you and checked before they drove and not while they drove, I'd be ra-ra-ing this as a great innovation.

    It's just unfortunate that there's a big enough percentage of people who aren't you that we all know this won't be when it's used.
  • by MobileTatsu-NJG ( 946591 ) on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @11:40AM (#15776382)
    " but I would argue that doing anything to *encourage* someone to be on their phone while driving wouldn't fall under the mantra 'Dont be evil'."

    Try living in L.A.. If you're pulling out your phone to get a traffic update, the odds are pretty darned good you're already stopped.
  • 50-50 agreeing or not on your comment. Since it is true that it can take your eyes off the road, smart people who wants to check the maps stop at the side of the road and checks it safely. Don't blame the tool, blame the user.
  • by truthsearch ( 249536 ) on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @11:41AM (#15776391) Homepage Journal
    In NYC there are at least 2 AM stations that broadcast traffic reports every 10 minutes (880, 1010). My father's been listening to them since before I was born. This is far safer and probaby even easier than trying to bring it up on your cell. Plus they tell you what's going to be happening in the near future, like typical rush-hour traffic jams and construction.

    There are other options, so stay off the cell.
  • by madstork2000 ( 143169 ) * on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @11:44AM (#15776408) Homepage
    You don't necessarily have to be on the phone while driving, you could be a passenger. You could check it before leaving for work/home you could check it while at the gas station en-route.

    Yes people will likely abuse it, like they abuse other tools. Complaining about useful tools. that could be abused is irritating and pointless.

    Maybe they should shutdown their search engine too, I heard you can search for porno, bomb making materials, drug recipes, and lots of other naughty stuff. Heck maybe they should shut down the whole Internet because you KNOW people use it to steal credit card numbers, send spam and exploit children.

    Short sighted, close minded people who shun new technology really drive me crazy, mainly because this knee jerk mentality is most often associated with the politicians, and lobbyists.

    Oh well... My little comment and opinion won't change anything, but at least I got it off my chest.

    BtW... The mobile maps application seems pretty slick in the few minutes I played with it (sitting at the safety of my desk). I am looking forward to some real word trials.

  • by Billosaur ( 927319 ) * <(wgrother) (at) (> on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @11:58AM (#15776515) Journal

    And there you have it. You can already get this information via the radio in most metropolitan markets, so what's the point? Unless you're Speed Racer, real-time traffic updates aren't going to be of much use. And here's a little point to consider: where are they getting the traffic information from? Answer: the same sources that provide it to the radio and TV stations. Unless Google is going to build its own traffic sensing network (and don't put it past them), their data is only going to be as good as the last update you would get from the traffic reporting agencies anyway. Let's face it, when an accident happens, even with all the people who own mobile phones, how long does it take before it's reported to the traffic monitors? ANd even then, how many times have you heard reports of an accident that have long been over and traffic is flowing again, despite the traffic report saying that things are still backed up? Nope, this is just Google pushing the limits of what they should be doing to try and establish themselves in another niche market.

  • Come on (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kohath ( 38547 ) on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @12:05PM (#15776580)
    - Offer this on the web.
    - Get the destination from my Google Calendar
    - Calculate the time of travel to my destination. Factor in traffic and construction.
    - Tell me when I need to leave in order to arrive on time
    - Tell me alternate routes to take based on which one is fastest right now
    - Message me on my phone when it's time to leave.

    You have all the information. Put it together into something helpful.
  • Well I do. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by sublime_pie ( 935091 ) on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @12:10PM (#15776610)
    Bad drivers will crash regardless of the reason. I don't see how this is any more dangerous than trying to drive while looking at a paper road map or a Google maps printout thereof. This will be great for all of the times that I get lost only to find I don't have a map in my car. And sure, I could simply buy a map for my car, but where would the fun in that be? As for the traffic congestion, I don't see any danger in looking down at your cell phone and plotting out an alternative route while you're parked in gridlock rush hour traffic.
  • by Monkelectric ( 546685 ) <slashdot@monkelectric . c om> on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @12:18PM (#15776665)
    Can anyone tell me why *NONE* of the google apps work with the Palm Treo?
  • by katsiris ( 779774 ) on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @12:26PM (#15776707)
    Seems a little short-sighted to me. Yes, it's possible, and I agree probable, that people will check in their car. But what if I'm out and want to check conditions before I come home? Should I be denied this feature because some idiot might check it while driving? Should all society be locked into a bubbled room because one person might find a way to hurt themselves and others?

    Now, I still agree with you, but I imagine the intent here is a stepping stone to real-time in-car routing that factors traffic into the equation. Getting from a-z often involves stopping at several letters on the way.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @12:37PM (#15776783)
    I'm amazed that it took 14 posts for anyone to wrap their head about the concept of a passenger. Isn't this a place where people are supposed to think?
  • Re:Treo 650 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tgeller ( 10260 ) on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @01:01PM (#15776968) Homepage
    I just got that, too.

    If it doesn't work on my device, for all practical purposes it doesn't exist. *shrug*

    (Not to mention that the Treo 650 is UNBELIEVABLY COMMON these days....)

A quarrel is quickly settled when deserted by one party; there is no battle unless there be two. -- Seneca