Google Maps can be considered as an invaluable tool for anyone who drives a car in a big city, offering details on traffic on major roads. A lot of us have this habit to religiously check Google Maps before heading anywhere, to properly plan our routes.
Google runs ad campaigns encourages users to do the same. But the system isn’t foolproof and can be deceived, as hilariously demonstrated by a man in Berlin who used 99 smartphones and a hand cart to create ‘fake’ traffic jams in Berlin.
Simon Weckert, a Berlin-based artist, did this stunt and published it on his blog as well as his youtube channel.
The video showed Weckert pulling 99 smartphones with the location turned on in a hand cart on city streets, including the street that had the Google’s office in Berlin.
The hand cart moved at a slow pace and the fact that almost 99 phones were used, it led Google Maps to believe that there were a lot of vehicles using a street that was actually empty.
Google uses this trick to crowdsource traffic data world over; smartphones in cars provide any traffic-related information to Google, including the speed at which they are moving, and how many smartphones are there on the street.
As per the video of the Berlin artist, it showed the streets on Google Maps gradually turning from green to maroon, suggesting that there was a traffic pileup on those streets.
Google generally shows a segment of the street as red or maroon, if the pace is low and the number is high, It would show traffic jam on the phone.
Weckert refrained from sharing any further details, there might be possible that this could have been faked entirely. If it is authentic, Google should ideally be looking at ways to prevent such an exploit from being used, since this could have very real and physical implications on traffic movement.