Google Maps Beefs up Traffic, More than Just Highways | webOS Nation
 
 

Google Maps Beefs up Traffic, More than Just Highways 23

by Dieter Bohn Tue, 25 Aug 2009 4:29 pm EDT

Google Maps on the Pre may not have all the features we'd like (hello Street View!), but it does show traffic.  The Official Google Blog, who lets us know that "arterials" (that's major roads to you) have been added to the already-existing US highways, so you now have more traffic information.

Here's a bonus - if you're one of the many people who shrugged their shoulders and has the "Background Data Collection" setting set to ON in Location Services, then you are letting Google know how fast you're moving on a given road if Google Maps is open, which in turn gives them crowdsourced data on traffic conditions.

Of course, location privacy and the Pre has been a contentious issue of late, so Google takes care to let you know that they're anonymizing and deleting this data.  Sadly, their instructions for opting out of providing them this information could use a clarification (they recommend turning location services off completely rather than just the Background Data Collection option).

In any case, more traffic info is good news. Now if we could just get some Latitude and Street View action, we'll start feeling a little better about Google Maps and the Pre.

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23 Comments

I hate GM on the Pre. Love it on all my other phones...

1. The Traffic overlay covers all the road signs. Who in the heck is the brilliant developer that thought that would be a good idea?!?!? In a major city that has highways all over the place, it's quite important to be able to see the what road is what.

2. Lack of favorites. There are traffic hot spots I like to check everyday before and after I commute. Leaving out favorites makes this very challenging for me.

3. Leaving out a + / - option for zooming. Yes, I know the pre is multi-touch and has 'pinch' and all that jazz. Pinch is cool, but not effective for one hand use.
The + / - was EASY and Effective. Bring it back, it didn't take up too much real estate.

Hmm! I hadn't realized it until now but between my Where app and TeleNav, I hardly use Google Maps at all! Works fine for my tastes, but then again I only had it on a 1st gen iPhone then a Centro...

GMAPS has horrible delayed traffic. I cannot tell you the number of times that it has showed all green while I was actually stopped in traffic. Sprint Nav is a much better traffic app.

I'm not sure if it's actually delayed or just wrong. I'm definitely hoping that microsoft brings bing maps to the pre. their traffic is always correct. i use a bookmarked web page to view bing traffic instead of google maps.

Agreed, Gmaps on webOS needs a lot of work.

Where is Bing Mobile (formerly live search) for the Pre? Bing is a much better maps/ directions application. When driving there's actually an arrow that shows you which direction you are heading and the list of directions changes automatically after you have successfully completed a turn, rather than having to manually cycle through the directions. Bing mobile is definetly the one application my Pre needs, and that I miss most from my windows mobile phone.

Have you tried the built-in Sprint Navigation app?

I only use it to look for shortcuts which works pretty well.

There's a few things I miss from GM on WinMo, but the two main things I miss are being able to save a business or address you've looked up in your contacts and secondly, being able to send information that you've looked up via SMS or email. Yes, I know you can tap on the number and then Add Contact from the phone menu, but that's not as convenient and it also doesn't save the address. With WinMo GM, all you had to do was click "Save to Contacts" from the menu and voila, it saved the name, the addresss, as well as any other information that was listed.

The explanation of how background data collection is
being used, helps possibley explain something I saw on the
updated Google Maps. There's a nearby road that is still on
the maps, but has been closed down completely to cars for
about a year, and is purely used for pedestrians
and one shuttle bus. Yet Google Maps traffic shows
it as having moving traffic on it. Presumably it's
getting that idea from phones riding around in peoples'
pockets as they walk and ride the shuttle bus, although
I would have expected it to indicate stop and go.

As for missing Pre Google Maps features. I want +/- or 'i'
(in) 'o' (out) like on my Palm Treo. I've found that zooming
out with pinch tends to be very laggy and it takes many more
swipes to zoom out than in. Finding the 'o' key to zoom
out is pretty easy. Bet someone can figure out how to hack it.

If Google is using the location services to determine traffic speeds based on users who have Google Maps open may cause inaccurate data. I for one take the bus and I can tell you, there are times when the bus is moving and traffic is stopped. If I left GMaps on, then they may think that all traffic is moving that fast.

This is a nice creative angle, but does it deal with non-drivers who share their location? For example, in a place like New York City, is there a practical way to determine what data comes from pedestrians vs. motorists vs. rail passengers who happen to be above ground?

It would be easy enough to throw out results that are well outside the mean. That is, if 90% of the results show speeds in the 35 mph range, and 3% show 2 mph, the software could throw those slow results out as likely being pedestrians. Same on the high side, as when a bus is going much faster than everyone else.

But if a train has a significant number of phones reporting back to google, it might be hard to programmatically do anything about that.

And, of course, the value of the service is contingent on their being a significant number of devices reporting their coordinates. If there are only one or two, the data's not going to be very trustworthy.

I just started using Google Maps a lot on my Blackberry Pearl a couple weeks before I bought the Pre. I was really impressed with the Latitude and Street View functionality. I felt I moved backwards when i got the Pre when it comes to Google Maps. I'm hoping they integrate those two functions into the Pre Google Maps very soon!

Mass-Transit/subway information?!! For those of us living in big cities

I would love to be able to use the telenav navigation from an address I've found using google maps, is this possible to do ?

I just use the Sprint navigation. I have only had to use it once and I realized I knew where I was going before I got there so I didn't need it in the end, but it seemed very responsive and accurate when I used it. Am I missing something by not using other apps for navigation?

I want what the google maps on bell does :)

I prefer Sprint Navigation because (a) I can get real driving directions instead of having to manually cycle through each turn in Google Maps; (b) Sprint Navigation talks to me; and (c) I think Sprint Navigation performs a little better.

Because of this, I actually wish that Sprint Nav was more integrated into the phone's applications and interface instead of Google Maps. For example, when you look up something in Where you only have the option to Google it, not Nav it. The same goes for the areas in PalmOS where you tap an address.

Deiter, Derek, and anyone else,

This was posted here http://www.mobile-files.com/forum/showthread.php?t=115464 about someone who flashed their pre to verizon (or something like that)

"i look at my pre I was signed out of my profile and then I got a voicemail from Palm
Well Guys, Im retiring right now, and good luck to all......

Today I look at my pre and it tells me I was signed out of my profile and it tells me to restart so I did thinking I was going to sign back in and no go, It tells me just restart or erase, so I switch to my old phone and I have a voicemail from Palm corporate. So Be careful and good luck. "

" The voicemail Said i need to contact palms Corporate office asap and left a number. "

You realize, of course, that the ability to show traffic on secondary roads has nothing to do with the Pre. Every device that uses gmaps now gets that capability. Are you so desperate to show progess on the Pre's lack of capabilties you include enhancements to a web service as a Pre feature?

I loved Google Maps on the iPhone and used it daily... now that I've switched to the Pre, I can't rely on it the way I used to. The lack of favorites and easy access to contact addresses within Google Maps make it far less useful. Also, I don't know if it's the network or the phone (I'm guessing the network), but the GPS within Google Maps is horribly unreliable for me... the dot literally jumps from one spot to another blocks away while I'm using it. Hopefully they'll fix it soon...