Estimated Driving Time with Traffic Pulled from Google Maps

By Beecher Tuttle July 18, 2011

Apparently sick of taking heat from angry motorists stuck in traffic, Google has decided to pull the predictive driving time feature from the browser-based version of Google Maps.

For years, Google Maps has been providing users with two driving time estimates. One is a simple mathematical equation that takes into account the mileage between two locations and the speed limits on the roads in question. The second, more useful number predicted traffic patterns and road conditions to give a more real-time approximation of car time.

Well, it now seems that the predictive number was less useful than once thought.

"We have decided that our information systems behind this feature were not as good as they could be," Google community manager Daniel Mabasa noted in a help forum. "Therefore, we have taken this offline and are currently working to come up with a better, more accurate solution. We are always working to bring you the best Google Maps experience with updates like these!"

Interestingly, Google Maps applications for Android and iOS still provide users with both travel time estimates, says PC World. It seems that the browser-based version of Google Maps is the only one in need of a renovation.

From personal experience, the "information systems behind this feature" didn't seem all that flawed. Although you were rarely ever handed an exact estimate, the second number tended to give you a generally good idea of what to expect. Not having even a clue what the roads are like could lead to some excessively long rides for Google desktop users.

It's a bit surprising that Google decided to pull the feature entirely rather than waiting to replace it with a more accurate technology. Equally shocking was the fact that Google didn't make its users aware of the change until one inquired in the help forum.  

Google Maps has been added to a few times over the last 18 months. One recent update added more social networking features and a brand new personal dashboard for following your own location history.

Beecher Tuttle is a TechZone360 contributor. He has extensive experience writing and editing for print publications and online news websites. He has specialized in a variety of industries, including health care technology, politics and education. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Rich Steeves

TechZone360 Contributor

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