Multinational internet firm, Google, in a blog post has announced that it has turned on live traffic alerts for its Maps app users in Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa.
“We’re updating Google Maps with new traffic alerts in Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa to help you avoid jams and get the most out of your holiday weekend. Now when you input your destination, you’ll get a spoken alert for upcoming traffic conditions that helps you identify the quickest route,” Google said in the blog post.
“While you’re on the road, Google Maps will give you a heads up if congestion lies ahead, and how long you’ll be stuck in a jam. You’ll also get the option to take alternate routes, including explanations for why one is recommended—whether it’s the fastest or just avoids traffic,” it added.
Google is able to offer this service with the help of Waze, an Israeli firm it had acquired in 2013 for over $1 billion. Google collects live traffic and accident data from the firm.
In addition to this, Google also receives anonymous bits of data from Android phones with location services turned on, and iPhones with the Google Maps app open.
After analysing all this data, Google can tell how many cars/pedestrians are on the road, how fast they are going etc.
It means that Maps will give real-time traffic updates to drivers in cities like Lagos, Nairobi and Cape Town when they put their apps in Navigation mode. This is great news for these cities as holdups are a daily occurrence.
South Africa was recently rated as the 5th most congested country in the world, while Nairobi and Lagos are both famous for their unprecedented, merciless traffic gridlocks.
The live alerts feature was first rolled out to users in the United States, 11 months ago in May 2015.