Live Traffic Info, Mobile Killer App


For someone who doesn’t drive, I am not the one who should be talking about live traffic information on the mobiles. But still, given the time I am riding shotgun giving directions, live traffic data makes perfect sense for mobile phones. In recent past I have used Google Maps to find my way – first on a Blackberry and more recently on a Nokia E61.

Now Google has launched a new service that allows you to get traffic information in more than 30 major metropolitan areas including San Francisco, Los Angeles, Houston, Chicago, Minneapolis, Phoenix, Seattle, Washington, D.C., and New York City.

The app works on a handful of phones. Nextel users are out of luck and so are those of you using Palm and Brew-based phones. Okay this is what I don’t understand: why not Treo. Have they not noticed that Treo is the favorite device of most sales people, especially on the road. Insurance agents and other reps like Treo as well. Anyway GMM is not the only option for traffic data. My dear friend Gary Price has this awesome post where he has put together a full list of services that offer traffic data over mobiles.



This suggests that Google can follow wiki-kind of approach – people can report in congestions. Just like information wikis, one hopes stale and mis-information will be diluted by accurate reportings.


If you aren’t getting up-to-date info from your radio, perhaps you should call to alert them when you’re stuck in traffic. I’m sure they’d appreciate it. After all, there’s no way a service using automated info from official sources could be half as accurate as a service from the same town, who has a local number for tips and real people at the other end.

Joe Seither

I agree with the previous comment – traffic info is almost never current by the time it gets to me, so it’s pretty useless.


The next step is to make it GPS-enabled, so I no longer have to type in an intersection or address.

Om Malik

most of the time you don’t get very upto date information on the radio. think of this as an additional resource.

Joe Rhoney

So cool! I love it!

Maps for Blackberry was already drop dead cool. This makes it amazing!

On my commute this morning, it was totally accurate.

Patrick Mullen

OK, you are in your car looking for traffic information. Why wouldn’t they just turn their radio on?

Erik Schwartz

It’s kind of a neat model. People look at their phones to get traffic info. They are distracted trying to manipulate horrid mobile UI’s and understand tiny screens. They get in accidents and tie up traffic which gives the system something to report…

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