Google brings more specific traffic alerts to SA

Checking your smartphone for commute times has become the norm for millions of people around the world.

Google pioneered this function with Google Now, but Apple and Microsoft were quick to copy the feature for their respective platforms.

The Mountain View company stepped its game up in November last year, moving beyond generic “25 minutes to work” alerts.

Instead, the company delivered specific traffic notifications in Google Maps, offering spoken alerts and notifications about traffic conditions.

Now, South Africans, Nigerians and Kenyans can get in on the action too, the company announced.

“Just in time for you to hit the road, we’re updating Google Maps with new traffic alerts to help you avoid jams and get the most out of your midweek holiday. Now when you input your destination, you’ll get a spoken alert for upcoming traffic conditions that helps you identify the quickest route,” the company said in a press statement.

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“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.”

One specific example illustrated by Google is an alert for construction work.

Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa aren’t the only countries to get the feature this week, as Google is also launching the service in India today, Google India confirmed on its blog.

The traffic alerts are available to Android and iPhone users who have the latest version of Google Maps installed.

The move lends some Waze-like functionality to Google Maps, which shouldn’t be a surprise as Waze was acquired by the Mountain View company in 2013.



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