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If you commute to work or travel regularly, you probably rely on Google Maps to get to your desired destination. The app offers a robust lineup of tools to make your commute smoother. But what happens when you hit traffic halfway to your destination or are concerned about the amount of traffic on the road before you leave the house? You can simply check the traffic with Google Maps.

Tip: make route planning more efficient with a few Google Maps extensions.

Checking Traffic in Google Maps

The traffic feature in Google Maps can come in handy when deciding which route to take to work or the grocery store. This feature color codes your map based on traffic volume, with green indicating no traffic delays, yellow or orange indicating medium traffic, and red indicating severe traffic delays.

Before you even begin your journey, you can quickly check the traffic conditions by following the steps below.

How to Check Traffic in Google Maps on Mobile

Open Google Maps from your mobile device.

Tap on the “Layers” icon in the upper-right portion of the screen.

    In the “Map details” section, tap “Traffic.”

      Exit the Layers section by tapping the “X” in its top-right corner.

      How to Check Traffic on Google Maps on Desktop

      Open a web browser and go to Google Maps.

      Move your cursor to hover over the “Layers” thumbnail at the bottom left.

      Finding an Alternate Route in Google Maps

      Sometimes the “quickest” route by mileage isn’t as quick. Luckily, Google Maps makes it easy to select alternate routes after you enter your desired destination in the smartphone app or in your web browser.

      How to Find an Alternate Route in Google Maps on Mobile

      Open the Google Maps mobile app.

      Tap on the “Directions” icon at the bottom right.

        Enter your starting point and desired destination.

          Once both locations are entered, touch the three dots next to the starting address.

            Select “Route Options” from the menu options.

              Tap the checkboxes next to each option you would like Google Maps to consider when planning your route. Press “Done” when you finish.

                Still not happy with the route Google Maps has selected? See all of the alternate routes that display as gray lines on the screen. Tap on any of the options to select an alternate route.

                How to Find an Alternate Route in Google Maps on Desktop

                  Enter your starting point and desired destination.

                    Once you’ve entered both destinations, multiple route options are displayed as a list. Compare options based on time, mileage, or traffic.

                      Google Maps will provide options based on devices linked to your Google account. Select one.

                      Note: if none of the devices or addresses are correct, you can add a new device to your Google account.

                      Frequently Asked Questions Does Google Maps show real-time traffic?

                      Yes, Google Maps displays real-time traffic status in most regions worldwide, which makes it easy for users to check whether there are traffic delays.

                      Why is Google Maps not showing traffic?

                      If you cannot pull up traffic data on Google Maps, you may need to update your application, check your data connection, or recalibrate your location services.

                      Image credit: PhotoMIX Company via Pexels. All Screenshots by Megan Glosson.

                      Megan Glosson

                      Megan Glosson is a freelance technology writer based in Nashville, TN. She has extensive experience working with everything from printers to smart home systems, and serves as the go-to “tech guru” for a small business that sells digital products. Megan has created thousands of articles for online publications and company blogs, including How-To Geek, Clean Email, and Review Geek.

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                      You're reading How To Check Traffic With Google Maps

                      Five Reasons To Prefer Apple Maps Over Google Maps

                      Has there ever been an app that has caused so much of an uproar in the Apple community as Apple Maps? It was released in the fall of 2012 with iOS 6, and it was not received well to say the least. It was so poorly received that Tim Cook even wrote a letter apologizing for the poor launch of Apple Maps which contributed o the firing of Scott Forstall:

                      At Apple, we strive to make world-class products that deliver the best experience possible to our customers. With the launch of our new Maps last week, we fell short on this commitment. We are extremely sorry for the frustration this has caused our customers and we are doing everything we can to make Maps better.

                      Now that we are almost six years into Apple Maps, I am of the opinion that Apple was right, certainly in a post Facebook privacy scandal world, to replace Google Maps with their in-house mapping product. In fact, Google Maps isn’t on my iPhone, and here are five reasons I prefer Apple Maps over Google Maps.

                      1. Privacy 

                      Apple and Google have drastically different business models, and a Maps product is a key part of that. In fact, Google even has a product where you can see where you’ve been in the past. It’s called Google Timeline. While I can see why some would love this feature, I do not. Apple’s privacy policy for Apple Maps is much more to my liking:

                      You don’t have to sign in to use Maps. Personalized features, like letting you know when it’s time to leave for your next appointment, are created using data on your device. The data that Maps collects while you use the app — like search terms, navigation routing, and traffic information — is associated with random identifiers so it can’t be tied to your Apple ID. These identifiers reset themselves as you use the app to ensure the best possible experience and to improve Maps. Maps extensions that are used in ride-booking and reservation apps run in their own sandboxes and share permissions with their own parent apps. For ride-booking apps, Maps shares only your starting point and destination with the extension. And when you reserve a table at a restaurant, the extension knows only the point of interest you tapped.

                      Location data is one of the most private things you can share with someone. I’m not a “tin-foil” hat type person, but I do not want an app tracking everywhere I go.

                      2. Siri Integration

                      Is Siri the best voice assistant on the market? Most definitely not, but I also find it incredibly useful in the car. Being able to say “Hey Siri, give me directions home” is incredibly helpful while driving. Unless Apple allows users to replace Siri with a new default assistant (Google or Amazon), Siri will remain the best Assistant for iPhone users. You can also ask for directions to specific places (Hey Siri, give me directs to 123 Main Street, etc.).

                      3. Apple Watch

                      In a period where a lot of Apple Watch apps are disappearing, Apple Maps remains a built-in (and useful) feature. When you have your iPhone doing navigation, Apple Watch will vibrate with alerts to turn. This feature also works with walking directions. This feature alone makes Apple Maps an incredibly attractive platform if you wear Apple Watch.

                      4. Yelp Integration

                      Instead of having to build a database of company reviews, Apple Maps has Yelp integration to populate data. Yelp has been around for years and has a plethora of great data about local businesses. In fact, I use Yelp quite a bit for restaurant reservations. The integration of the two apps is well done, and a key part of the Apple Maps experience. I’d love to see Apple look into features like restaurant recommendations though.

                      5. Good Enough Maps Data

                      If I had to pick a product based on the map data alone, it would be hard to choose anything but Google Maps. They’ve been around for a lot longer than Apple Maps, and are continually getting better. On the flip side, Apple Maps hasn’t given me incorrect information in years. My non-scientific opinion is that Apple Maps data is 85% as good as Google. That 85% is 100% of what I need, and the other benefits of Apple Maps outweigh any negatives.

                      One final reason I love Apple Maps: it lists if a business takes Apple Pay.

                      FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.

                      Keyhole Now Live On Google Maps

                      Keyhole Now Live on Google Maps

                      Today Google integrated Keyhole into Google Maps. Here’s The Kelsey Group’s corporate offices. This is a companion view; Google’s high-resolution graphical mapping is still the default. Keyhole integration into Google Maps has been expected since the company was acquired late last year.

                      Of course, this is a beta and it doesn’t have 100 percent of the functionality of the client software version (nor will it). It offers an interesting, alternate view of locations and will be helpful in certain contexts (e.g., housing search, travel). But I had high expectations and was a bit frustrated that the maps didn’t zoom in closer in the two major metro areas I tested (Los Angeles and New York).

                      There is a novelty/wow factor here, which can’t be underestimated in the consumer context. But in the few searches I tried, I actually preferred the “cartographic” maps (the most recent upgrade before keyhole). They were cleaner and more pleasing to look at, subjectively speaking.

                      I would also like to see Google Maps do the kind of overlay (“Map Nearby”) that Yahoo! Maps offers.

                      Rest assured the product will get better—and so must the mapping functionality on Google’s competitors’ sites.

                      Here’s the verbatim press release:

                      In a continued effort to connect searchers with the information they need whether it’s across the Internet or in their neighborhood, today, Google announced the integration of Keyhole, a digital mapping service acquired by Google in 2004, into Google Maps. The integration enables Google Maps users to view maps and directions through Keyhole’s satellite and aerial high resolution digital photos. The new functionality is also available on the maps shown through Google Local.

                      The traditional graphical maps provided by Google Maps are still available through the service, as well as, Google Local. In addition, users can now select ‘Satellite’ mode and see actual overhead views of the area or route they have selected. As with the original Google Maps, the Keyhole maps enable users to zoom in and out, and navigate the satellite and aerial high resolution digital maps dynamically in any direction.

                      Keyhole will continue to offer its Keyhole 2 LT and PRO software products that provide interactive access to a streaming 3D global database of imagery and mapping information.

                      Hacking Google Maps To Create Distance Features In Your Model / Applications

                      This article is going to be different from the rest of my articles published on Analytics Vidhya – both in terms of content and format. I usually layout my article such that after a read, the reader is left to think about how this article can be implemented on grounds.

                      In this article, I will start with a round of brainstorming around a particular type of business problem and then talk about a sample analytics based solution to these problems. To make use of this article make sure that you follow my instructions carefully.

                      Let’s start with a few business cases:

                      Retail bank: Optimize primary bank branch allocation for all the customers. This is to make sure that the bank branch allotted to the customer is close to the mailing or permanent address of the customer for his convenience.  This might be specially applicable, if we open a new branch and the closest branch for many existing customer changes to this new branch.

                      Retail Store chain: Send special offers to your loyal customers. But offers could be region specific so same offer cannot be sent to all. Hence, you first need to find the closest store to the customer and then mail the offer which is currently applicable for that store.

                      Credit card company who sells co-branded cards: You wish to find out all partner stores which are closest to your existing client base and then mail them appropriate offers.

                      Manufacturing plant: Wish to find out wholesalers near your plant for components required in manufacturing of the product.

                      What is so common in all the problems mentioned above? Each of these problems deal with getting the distance between multiple combination of source and target destinations.

                      A common approach 

                      I have worked in multiple domains and saw this problem being solved in similar fashion which gives approximate but quick results.

                      Exercise : Can you think of a method to do the same using your currently available data and resources?

                      Here is the approach :

                      You generally have a PIN CODE for both source and destination. Using these PIN CODES, we find the centroid of these regions. Once you have both the centroids, you check their latitude and longitude. You finally calculate the eucledian distance between these two points. We approximate our required distance with this number. Following figure will explain the process better :

                      The two marked areas refers to different PIN CODES and the distance 10 kms is used as an approximate distance between the two points.

                      Exercise : Can you think of challenges with this approach ? 

                      Here are a few I can think of :

                      If the point of interest is far away from the centroid, this approach will give inaccurate results.

                      Some times the centroid of other PIN CODE can be more closer to the point of interest than its own PIN CODE. But because it falls in area of the distant PIN CODE, we still approximate the point of interest with the centroid of distant PIN CODE.

                      In cases where we need finer distances than the precision of PIN CODE demarcation, this method will lead nowhere. Imagine a scenario where two branches of a bank and customer address is located in the same PIN CODE. We have no way to find the closest branch.

                      The distance calculated is a point to point distance and not on road. Imagine a scenario when you have two PIN Codes right next to each other but you have valley between which you need to circle around to reach destination.

                      A manual Approach

                      Say you have two branches and a single customer, how will you make a call between the two branches (which one is closer)? Here is a step by step approach :

                      You choose the first combination of branch-customer pair.

                      You feed the two addresses in Google Maps.

                      You pick the distance/time on road

                      You fill in the distance in the table with the combinations (2 in this case)

                      Repeat the same process with the other combination.

                      How to automate this approach?

                      Obviously, this process cannot be done manually for millions of customers and thousands of branches. But this process can be well automated (however, Google API have a few caps on the total number of searches). Here is a simple Python code which can be used to create functions to calculate the distance between two points on Google Map.

                      Exercise : Create a table with a few sources and destinations. Use these functions to find distance and time between those points. Reply “Done without support” if you are able to implement the code without looking at the rest of the solution.

                      Here is how we can read in a table of different source-destination combinations :

                      Notice that we have all types of combinations here. Combination 1 is a combo of two cities. Combo 4 is a combination of two detailed address. Combo 6 is a combination of a city and a monument. Let’s now try to get the distances and time & check if they make sense.

                      All the distance and time calculations in this table look accurate.

                      Exercise : What are the benefits of using this approach over the PIN CODE approach mentioned above? Can you think of a better way to do this task?

                      Here is the complete Code :

                      [stextbox id=”grey”]

                      import googlemaps from datetime import datetime def finddist(source, destination):      gmaps = googlemaps.Client(key='XXX')     now = datetime.now()    directions_result = gmaps.directions(source, destination, mode="driving",departure_time=now)    for map1 in directions_result:          overall_stats = map1['legs']          for dimensions in overall_stats:                 distance = dimensions['distance']                 return [distance['text']] def findtime(source, destination):       gmaps = googlemaps.Client(key='XXX')       now = datetime.now()       directions_result = gmaps.directions(source, destination, mode="driving",departure_time=now)       for map1 in directions_result:             overall_stats = map1['legs']             for dimensions in overall_stats:                    duration = dimensions['duration']                    return [duration['text']] import numpy as np import pandas as pd import pylab as pl import os os.chdir(r"C:UsersTavishDesktop") cities = pd.read_csv("cities.csv") cities["distance"] = 0 cities["time"] = 0 for i in range(0,8): source = cities['Source'][i] destination = cities['Destination'][i] cities['distance'][i] = finddist(source,destination) cities['time'][i] = findtime(source,destination) [/stextbox]

                      [stextbox id=”grey”]

                      End Notes

                      GoogleMaps API come with a few limitations on the total number of searches. You can have look at the documentation, if you see a use case of this algorithm.

                      Did you find the article useful? Share with us find more use cases of GoogleMaps API usage apart from the one mentioned in this article? Also share with us any links of related video or article to leverage GoogleMaps API. Do let us know your thoughts about this article in the box below.

                      If you like what you just read & want to continue your analytics learning, subscribe to our emails, follow us on twitter or like our facebook page.

                      Related

                      Google Is Reportedly Delivering Less Organic Search Traffic Than Last Year

                      Organic search visits from Google are reportedly down compared to last year, while organic visits from DuckDuckGo are up significantly.

                      Merkle’s digital marketing report for Q2 2023 shows that Google’s organic search visits are down 8% from the same time period in 2023.

                      Organic visits from Bing and Yahoo are down as well, with declines of 26% and 11% respectively.

                      The only major search engine to deliver organic search visit growth last quarter is DuckDuckGo, with 49% more visits overall.

                      Looking at mobile visits specifically, DuckDuckGo is up 64% year-over-year. DuckDuckGo’s growth in mobile search was so strong that its organic search share on mobile has doubled from 0.3% to 0.6%.

                      Despite Google’s lack of growth in organic search visits, it still managed to gain 1% organic search visit share last quarter.

                      However, that appears to be at the expense of Bing losing 1% of its organic search visit share.

                      Now that we’ve looked at specific search engines, here’s a look at the overall organic search market in Q2 2023.

                      Organic Search in Q2 2023

                      Organic search produced 23% of all site visits in Q2 2023.

                      Total visits produced by organic search fell 6% year-over-year in Q2 2023, which is down even further from a 2% decline in Q1 2023.

                      Organic search visits were down across all devices but especially so on mobile phones, where visit growth dropped from 13% in Q1 2023 to 5% in Q2 2023.

                      Data shows that paid search visits on phones could be cutting into organic visits. Phones and tablets produced 59% of organic search visits in Q2 2023, compared to 65% of paid search visits.

                      According to Merkle, this was the weakest rate of growth for phone organic search since mid-2024.

                      The two biggest share gainers in Q2 2023 were paid search and direct site visits.

                      For more data, download the full report here.

                      Hotel Booking Links Now Available In Google Search & Maps

                      Last year, Google introduced a way for hotels to show free booking links. This month, Google announced an expansion of free booking links. These free links are now available on Search and Maps.

                      The travel industry is certainly showing signs of recovery since the pandemic, with “spring vacation” searches nearing the volume it was in 2023.

                      With travel rebounding to pre-pandemic levels, Google announced new tips to help hotels connect with and reach people who are ready to travel.

                      Free Bookings On Google

                      Consumers have may ways of searching for travel. Whether they search on chúng tôi or within the Maps app, hotels and travel partners can now extend their reach with free booking links.

                      Why The Change?

                      Since free hotel booking links were introduced, travel and hotel partners have seen noticeable benefits, including increased user engagement. Everyone from individual and boutique hotels to large travel agencies have seen the benefits.

                      One of the booking engines, “myhotelshop” has seen a 30% incremental increase in bookings during the summer of 2023.

                      New Reporting Available

                      With the expansion of free booking links into Search and Maps, new reporting is now available.

                      In the future, Google will be adding additional metrics, such as:

                      Impressions

                      Booking value

                      Additional Program Updates

                      Google has made a well-deserved change to sharing rates and availability. Beginning in April 2023, individual hotels can manually input rates and availability through their Google Business Profile. There are certain eligibility requirements for this feature:

                      The business is verified on Google

                      The website has online booking enabled/available

                      This update eliminates the technical requirements that were previously needed to update information.

                      If you want to start using this feature, you must fill out the interest form from Google, which can be found here.

                      The other benefit of updating rates in your Google Business profile is to simultaneously highlight your unique offerings. Local Posts for Google Business Profile allows you to share updates in real-time around certain topics that matter most to travelers. Ideas can include:

                      Any hotel policy changes or updates due to COVID-19

                      Special features that your hotel offers, where competitor hotels do not

                      Showcasing your best images and videos of the hotel property

                      Summary

                      Because the traveler can book directly through your site, it eliminates additional barriers to completing the booking. This could help increase your conversion rates as well.

                      By creating more free booking link space, you can gain additional competitive bookings at no cost to you. If you’re not utilizing this program yet, get started by contacting Google through their interest form.

                      Source: Google

                      Featured Image: sdx15/Shutterstock

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