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Google Maps might be an excellent navigation and traffic tool that is highly useful, however, this doesn’t mean it can’t be fooled.
Simon Weckert, a Berlin-based artist, tricked the renowned app into thinking that a completely empty street is bursting with traffic. What he did was nothing short of genius, he filled a wagon with 99 smartphones and opened Maps navigation on all of them. He slowly pulled the chart through Berlin’s streets, ironically, including the street right outside Google’s office in Berlin. Soon enough, the street could be seen blazing red with traffic on Google Maps.
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You can check out the artist's video from here:
You might be asking why exactly this happens. As you might have guessed, Google uses a method where it crowdsources traffic data all around the world. Smartphones used by people in cars provide the necessary information to Google, such as the speed at which they are moving, and how many smartphones are on that particular street. In Weckert's case, 99 cars piled up after another in a small street painted the street red almost instantly.
It is for sure that people who were using Google Maps at the time were told that the street had a jam and that they should just avoid the street altogether. If they were to use the street anyway, its almost empty look must have come as a surprise.
Weckert hasn’t shared any further details except his blog post. Since there aren't any further details, the whole thing might be faked too. If it is truly authentic, Google should be probably looking into this since it can be exploited easily.
However, we don't usually get artists with 99 smartphones in a hand cart wandering around. Don't let this hold you back from using Google Maps, and more importantly, don't let the guy with the red wagon tell you what to do, and choose your own route.