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Google offers live traffic maps on cell phones

25 July 2006: Google today said it is offering mobile phone users to view highway maps with live traffic data. Available initially in 30 U.S. cities, Google Maps for mobile will show traffic, with road conditions highlighted in three colors: red means congested, yellow & orange means slowdowns and green for open traffic. The service combines satellite imagery, directions, and traffic data — completely free. One can check out the service by going to https://google.com/gmm on mobile phone. Currently, it’s only available in the U.S. market.

Live traffic information for more than 30 cities in the United States will be as close as a commuter’s mobile phone via the Google Maps for Mobile service. Presently, Google offers several Maps services for mobile handset users. Searching for local businesses returns integrated results featuring location and contact information to the phone.

Google Maps can deliver draggable, zoomable maps to those phones, and provide satellite imagery of a location. Users who need walking or driving directions can retrieve those with step-by-step instructions from Google Maps for Mobile as well. The company disclosed through a Reuters report on the latest addition to its Maps for Mobiles lineup of services. Live traffic data allows users to see congestion areas and estimate delays.

The service will launch with coverage for over 30 metropolitan areas in the US. Traffic display information noted by Reuters will be color-coded. Red means congestion, yellow for delays, and green indicates normal traffic flow for a route. Google has not yet revealed the source of its traffic information for the new Maps service. The color system looks similar to that offered by Traffic.com, which currently provides traffic data to Microsoft’s online service, Windows Live Local. Traffic.com lists available traffic information for 50 cities on its website. Mobile users with Java-enabled (J2ME) handsets from Cingular or Sprint, or color BlackBerry devices from any carrier, can access Google Maps for Mobile services.