Google Adds Traffic to Mobile Map Service

Google debuted an update to its Google Maps for Mobile product that will provide live traffic updates in 30 metropolitan areas, plus partial information for smaller cities as well. The search engine's mobile map service for cell phones is available as a small download for compatible models.

Traffic information will be provided as an additional layer that users can toggle on and off. Routes are shown in green, yellow, or red depending on the severity of traffic congestion, along with detailed information on incidents. Additionally, when users search for driving directions through the service, traffic conditions would be factored in to overall drive time.

In addition to the new traffic condition functionality, Google has also added a feature that would allow users to save and recall commonly requested directions, allowing the user to compare traffic across a variety of routes.

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To date, none of the major online services offer such a service in their own map products for mobile devices. While Yahoo offers traffic conditions in the desktop version of their product, the mobile version does not.

Finally, an enhancement has been made to the Google personalized desktop homepage that would allow the user to customize their mobile homepage from their home PC. By clicking the "mobile" link, users can reorganize, add and delete content from their mobile homepage. Changes would appear the next time they log in to their device.

Users can download Google Maps for Mobile at www.google.com/gmm.

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