Google Maps will now warn drivers about upcoming speed traps as it takes another page from Waze


Google Maps will now warn drivers about upcoming speed traps as it takes another page from Waze

  • Google Maps has rolled out speed camera and speed limit notifications 
  • The features will be available to people in 40 countries around the world 
  • Waze has long courted users who want alternate routes and added features 

Google Maps is finally borrowing some of users’ favorite features from its sister app Waze, including speed limits and traffic camera notifications. 

According to a report from ZDnet, the speed camera feature, which presents an icon when one of the devices is nearby, have been rolled out in 40 countries overall, including Australia, the UK, US, Russia, Brazil, Mexico, Canada, India, and Indonesia

Speed limits are available in the UK, US, and Denmark and will represented to users in digits located in the lower-third of the app, says the report.

Notifications regarding speed cameras and speed limits will now be available to users of Google Maps in 40 countries around the world

While those features may be new to Google Maps, they have long helped to court an audience for another popular navigation app, Waze. 

It was long-speculated that when Google purchased Waze for $1.1 billion five years ago that the features would be swiftly migrated to Google Maps, but the company has waited until recently to pull the trigger. 

As noted by TechCrunch, the company’s slowness on integrating Waze’s best features may be related to Google’s desire to keep the map’s app more of a platform for connecting users to businesses and destinations as opposed to strictly just a navigation app.

Google also may have been wary of potentially cannibalizing its other apps by making features interchangeable. 

The features have been available in another Google-owned navigation app, Waze.

The features have been available in another Google-owned navigation app, Waze.

TechCrunch also notes that, similar to Waze’s functionality, Android users will be able to report accidents and traffic in a type of crowd-sourcing meant to make the app more up-to-date, while iOS users won’t have this option. 

In addition to its crowd-sourcing and added speed features, Waze has appealed to many users because of its differing algorithm. 

Where navigation apps like Google Maps and Apple Maps tend to lead users along the same mainstream routes, Waze purports to give users alternatives using less trafficked back streets. 

Whether Waze’s algorithm actually delivers on its promise of providing faster travel times through more alternative routes, however, remains a point of contention. 

In one man’s test last year, Waze was found to consistently provide the most optimistic estimated travel travel times to users while delivering the least efficient outcome, while Google Maps tended to be almost or right on par with its projections. 

The addition of speed features to Google Maps will mark the most significant update to its navigation capabilities since the company added a ‘commute’ tab in October. 

Google’s commute feature offers live updates and alternative routes to commuters who may be traveling during periods of heavy traffic.  

WHICH NAVIGATION APP IS THE MOST EFFICIENT?

Blogger Artur Grabowski collected data from 120 trips since early 2017. 

He measured his activity on Google Maps, Apple Maps and Waze to determine which navigation service got their users to their destination quickest. 

For each trip, he randomly selected an app to use and recorded this data in each trip: 

Grabowski collected a data set (pictured) based on 120 trips taken via Apple Maps, Waze and Google Maps since early 2017

Grabowski collected a data set (pictured) based on 120 trips taken via Apple Maps, Waze and Google Maps since early 2017

  • Which app was randomly selected to follow for each trip (Apple Maps, Google Maps, Waze) 
  • Estimated driving time for each app 
  • Departure and arrival time 
  • Traffic conditions (i.e. work commute hours or not) 
  • Weather conditions (i.e. rain or not) 
  • Driving type (i.e. >75% city, >75% highway, or mixed) 

From that data, he charted how often each app provided slower/faster trip time.

He also measured how often the app got users to their destination on time and if not, how often users arrived at their destination later than expected. 

From that, he combined the estimated trip times with estimation errors to arrive at an error adjusted estimated trip time.

This figure determined his key question: Which navigation app actually gets you to your destination most quickly? 

Based on his results, he determined that Google Maps gets users to their destination fastest . 



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