All You Need is 99 Phones to Create a Traffic Jam on Google Maps

Google Maps is a pretty nifty feature that has transformed the way we commute and travel throughout the world. It helps us plan our commute, prevents us from getting lost and helps avoid traffic jams.

At times, there have been a few flaws with its navigation system because it can’t differentiate between the size and state of the road with the vehicle you are on. In my experience, it once showed me a route that made sense on the app but there was no conceivable way my car would fit through that windy street.

Although it doesn’t seem that big of a deal, an artist did an experiment creating an artificial high-traffic area on a road.

Simon Weckert, an artist based in Berlin who “focuses on the digital world – including everything related to code and electronics under the reflection on current social aspects.” shows how he did it:

Simon carried out an experiment in which he placed 99 smartphones in a handcart and carried them around the streets which led to the maps displaying a traffic jam on that particular street.

This is an interesting experiment which leads to some important questions such as can this hack be used for ulterior motives?

This also shows the limits of what Google Maps is capable of. At the end of the day, relying solely on navigation apps to get around might not be advisable after all, no matter how reliable they are in general.

Let us know what you think in the comments below.

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  • Damn.. And here I was, never doubting the reliability of the Google Maps apart from rare occasions. This experiment a fundamental flaw in the working of the app and I agree that it can be manipulated for negative purposes as well. But I am also Google will already be hard at work to address this issue as it has just caught spotlight but one must wonder, how many flaws as big as this would exist in other apps that we use and so many countless ways to manipulate the masses via these apps must exist.

  • I was once put on a road in a rural area by Google maps which took me away from my destination and I had to take directions from the locals who turn around and go the other way in another road. In cities it’s ok but in rural areas, I don’t trust it.

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