Here’s how Google Maps knows how long your journey will take

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Google Maps has been replacing traditional sat navs consistently for some time now with the app constantly being updated and improved.

Just select your destination and Google will do the rest – even down to telling you the time you will arrive at your destination.

However, have you ever wondered how Google Maps calculates how long your journey will take?

Well, it is down to a combination of factors, not least the routing algorithms that are the very backbone of Google Maps. These algorithms have both current and historical traffic data that can tell you the fastest route and guide you around any major holdups. This allows the app to establish accurate traffic speeds.

Google Maps also collects data from the 35 million miles that are driven by users every day. This is largely from from the location data of Android users although iPhone users of course use Google Maps, preferring it over Apple’s own navigation tool, Apple Maps.

The information is then pieced together and sent back to you. It should go without saying that the information from built up areas is more accurate simply because Google has so much data.

This means it can predict how traffic works each and every day, up to a point (traffic is inherently unpredictable), but it’s not perfect (as you’ve probably found out in the past) as knowing exactly what the traffic will do is like predicting the future, and technology can’t do that just yet.

Presently, traffic information is available for 60 countries worldwide, including Thailand, with more likely to be introduced over time. As with many of Google’s features, the company is working hard to keep updating the app and make it even more user friendly.

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