This artist tricked Google Maps into creating fake traffic with 99 replacement phones

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Google Maps can be fooled fairly easily.

This artist tricked Google Maps into creating fake traffic with 99 replacement phones
Google Maps can be fooled fairly easily.

Google Maps is probably one of the most important tools on your smartphone today. It not only brings the entire world map into your hands, but also serves as a local travel guide and provides live traffic information. It seems like a big deal, but the way live traffic works is actually quite simple.

Google constantly gathers information from all Android devices and does so to predict traffic on a given road. Google's AI determines that there is traffic on a particular road or street by checking the number of Android devices on that particular road. This also means that this feature is very easy to hack, and that's exactly what Berlin-based artist Simon Weckert did. With a penchant for technology and the digital world, Weckert put 99 used phones in a shopping cart and slowly dragged them along different streets and paths.

The result was that Google Maps servers interpreted this as a traffic jam and showed the same to the users of the service. The “wrong” traffic has caused drivers to avoid the streets and paths that were actually empty. This simple trick has proven that Google definitely has to make one or two optimizations and that its navigation system is not error-free. The hack also shows how dependent we are on technology these days.

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