We aimed to use public real-time webcam images to gauge traffic. Google maps can now provide some of that same type of data, perhaps to estimate demand of products and resource use. Can see this being very useful in combination with other kinds of data. Smart city applications as well.
Google Maps now tells you how busy places are in real time
by Eric David
Google Maps has offered its “Popular Times” feature for about a year now, allowing users to gauge how busy a business will be at certain times of the day based on past history.
Now, Google is making the feature a bit more useful — and creepy — by showing real-time stats using location data taken from people’s mobile devices.
“Just in time for the Black Friday swarms, we’re adding a real-time look at how crowded a place is right now, to help you decide where and when to go,” Jamie Aspinall, a product manager at Google, wrote in a blog post. “Whether you’re rushing to pick up a last minute gift or seeking a lively bar for some festive spirit, check Popular Times for a sneak preview of what to expect when you arrive.”
The new feature uses anonymized information from the Google Maps app that tracks where a device is located. More specifically, Google’s location data code tracks when users enter a predefined geographical boundary, for example a specific address or GPS location, and when they leave. Since Google Maps is one of the most popular map tools around, this effectively means that Google knows roughly where you are at all times. .... "