Sunday, March 18, 2012

Live traffic – for free!

Google announced today that they are adding live traffic to Google Maps. Now you can’t use this on your PND, but it is available on some GPS cell phones via Google Mobile.

This has me wondering about Google’s economic model (give stuff away, make a killing on ads) and the coming cell phone GPS vs. PND wars. Using your cell phone as a GPS is nothing like the experience of a dedicated, decent sized touch-screen device and, while cell phones may take some market share (those folks with only rare or occasional navigation needs), I’ve thought that there is still plenty of room for growth in the PND market.


But Garmin and others better take a close look at this. I wonder how long it will be before a GPS manufacturer comes out with a dual model — pay for traffic services, or get them for free in exchange for seeing location based ads.

Free traffic and satellite photos is a pretty good deal. And while I haven’t found out what traffic service provider Google is using, their coverage appears to be good too. I routinely drive through Santa Rosa, CA, and live traffic reports have yet to show up on my nuvi 660, but here it is on Google Maps.

About Rich Owings

Rich is the owner, editor and chief bottle-washer for GPS Tracklog. Connect with him on Twitter, Facebook or Google Plus.


  1. I found your blog last week. Thank you for all the great GPS information! I’m now a regular reader.

  2. Is this really new? I have Google Maps on my Treo and I have been checking traffic for months.

  3. unwire – Thanks! I’m glad you’re enjoying it.
    Zack – Good question. They just announced it, but maybe it was in stealth mode.

  4. Brilliant. As a Defensive Driving/Traffic School owner, I’m going to bring this up in my classes, and put this link on my website.

  5. Those google maps are great.I use them on my personal gps tracking device and they help me alot when I’m travelling somewhere abroad.

  6. There are so many awesome cell phone cases and other cell phone accessories coming out right now, I don’t know which to get first.

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