Google Maps has been developing continuously since its inception, the platform now provides navigation services and even traffic jam alerts to users in order to anticipate it earlier and change the route in order to avoid traffic jams.
However, an artist from Germany has played a trick to trick Google maps, the idea was to fill a wagon with smartphones with location services turned on. It played well, the artist tested the idea and posted the demonstration on YouTube.
Whenever the wagon enters the road, it shows red marked due to congestion and possible traffic jam on that road according to Google Maps. You can see the demonstration in the video below.
In this demonstration, the information that is being fed to Google’s simulation-based map algorithms is manipulated with a wagon full of smartphones. Technically it tells Google that there are so many cars on that road and they are moving slowly translating into a traffic jam, however, this isn’t the case. The so-called cars are just the smartphones packed in Wagon.
In this test case, it has been learned that Google is not much effective in telling the difference between cars and wagons, or even bikes. It just collects data from smartphones no matter how they are moving.
Google has acknowledged the flaw in Google maps and responded to the article posted on 9to5Google stating that “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.”
But this also leaves other security issues for the company as the data can be easily manipulated by people to direct traffic to their desired locations in order to conduct something unlawful.