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Google Reacts to 99 Phones ‘Maps Hack’: Such Creative Uses Help Us Improve Services

We recently reported about a Berlin-based artist who duped Google Maps by dragging 99 second-hand phones on a cart through various streets and roads. While he didn’t actually create any traffic, but the result was that Google Maps’ servers interpreted this as traffic congestion thereby showing the same to people using the service. The ‘fake’ traffic made drivers avoid those roads and streets, which were actually empty.

Now, Google has given a response regarding the ‘experiment’ and agreed that a large number of devices running Maps in a single place, is proof of a traffic jam. However, Google went on to say that this experiment was something that was rare and a very specific case that took advantage of this scenario.

Here’s the complete statement a Google spokesperson gave to 9to5Google:

“Whether via car or cart or camel, we love seeing creative uses of Google Maps as it helps us make maps work better over time.

Traffic data in Google Maps is refreshed continuously thanks to information from a variety of sources, including aggregated anonymized data from people who have location services turned on and contributions from the Google Maps community. We’ve launched the ability to distinguish between cars and motorcycles in several countries including India, Indonesia and Egypt, though we haven’t quite cracked traveling by wagon. We appreciate seeing creative uses of Google Maps like this as it helps us make maps work better over time.”

The statement basically hints that the company does use a case like this to improve traffic data on Google Maps. The search giant also said that it continuously refreshes its systems by referring a variety of sources to provide the most “comprehensive and accurate maps possible.”

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