On Tuesday, Google announced that the latest update to their widely-used Google Maps program will keep drivers updated on traffic jams as they happen.
Drivers who are familiar with Google Maps might know that the application already has some basic traffic-mapping capabilities, but until now these updates have relied on third-party providers to pinpoint problems ahead. Instead, this latest update will gather information from other drivers already on the road. Earlier this year, Google acquired Israeli app Waze, which uses crowd-sourced traffic information from its 50 million users. The social-mapping app was purchased for $1.1 billion.
With updates coming in from other driver in the area, Google Maps users should be able to use the information to avoid road closures, traffic accidents, and rush hour madness. Frequent contributors can earn badges within the system, and are even eligible to win real-life prizes.
As of Tuesday, Google Maps users will be able to see updates from Waze users in the United States as well as 12 other countries including Mexico, France and the United Kingdom. Currently this Google Maps update is available for Android or iOS users.