Image credit: Simon Weckert

Have you ever wondered how Google Maps detects when there’s heavy traffic? Turns out, it’s pretty straightforward and led to one artist named Simon Weckert to “hack” the system.

So, what did Weckert do? He brought a wagon filled with smartphones and opened Google Maps for navigation. As he walked down the street, Google recognizes the wagon of smartphones as a high concentration of “users” and changes the color of the street to red (bad traffic).

According to Weckert’s site, he used 99 secondhand smartphones to create the virtual traffic jam that led to a greet street turning red and making it possible for Google to even reroute other users.

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Google spokesperson also responded to the issue, admitting that Google does detect traffic jams through a large number of devices using Maps in an area. However, the company also acknowledged that the system can be easily taken advantage of and will work to improve the app. 

“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,” said the spokesperson.

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