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Man caused virtual traffic jam on Google Maps with 99 phones; Google 'appreciates'

A man used 99 phones to create a virtual traffic jam on Google Maps, thus, confusing the app. Read on to know what happened

IANS Reported by: IANS
New Delhi Updated on: February 04, 2020 18:28 IST
google maps, google, google maps hack, virtual traffic, confuse google maps
Image Source : PIXABAY

Google Maps hack 

Call it bizarre but a German artist Simon Weckert has posted a video on YouTube, showing how he "hacked" Google Maps with 99 smartphones and a wagon to create "virtual traffic jams" on the streets of Berlin.

Weckert put 99 smartphones with Google Maps on into a small wagon cart and then wheeled that cart around various streets in Berlin, including outside the Google office, Android Authority reported on Monday.

The smartphones "apparently fooled Google Maps" into thinking that there was a high concentration of users on those streets. Because the second-hand phones were in a cart, Maps was further tricked into believing that the traffic was slow-moving.

As a result, the navigation app started showing virtual traffic jams by turning green streets to red in the online navigational tool, showcasing how digital technology can have a real impact on the real world.

Basically, Google Maps' servers interpreted the situation as traffic congestion and began showing this to others on the street. This, in turn, prompted drivers to turn away and avoid streets where there was actually no traffic.

Google provided an official statement and 'appreciated' the experiment. In a statement to 9To5Google, Google said, "We appreciate seeing creative uses of Google Maps like this as it helps us make maps work better over time. Traffic data in Google Maps is refreshed continuously thanks to information from a variety of sources, including aggregated anonymised data from people who have location services turned on and contributions from the Google Maps community. We've launched the ability to distinguish between cars and motorcycles in several countries including India, Indonesia and Egypt, though we haven't quite cracked travelling by wagon."

"I work for Google Maps and I know quite a bit about how this works. I believe this is possible," tweeted a senior software engineer for Google Maps.

With its geo tools, Google has created a platform that allows users and businesses to interact with maps in a novel way, well, unless Weckert aims to play around it.

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