Now Sri Lankans can get live traffic data on Google Maps. It’s pretty cool, and Christmas colored. Green for where traffic is good, red for where traffic is bad. Just a glance at today’s traffic shows that the going is good on Marine Drive and bad around Havelock Road.
It’s also cool that Google shows construction zones. Honestly, this service is pretty dope so far.
A Quick Video
Here’s a quick video that shows a full day in Colombo traffic. You can see the same by clicking ‘Live Traffic’ and switching to ‘Typical Traffic’ for historical data. Hat-tip to commenter thoughtlessruvi for pointing this out.
How To Use Google Traffic
To use it you can go to Google Maps and hit the button at left and click to turn the traffic layer on. Alternately, you can just Google ‘traffic‘ and the map should come up, because Google knows everything.
Now, how does Google know all of this info? As far as we know, they’re using data from everyone using Android phones or Google Maps, so probably you. I checked my Google app settings (on iPhone) and Location Reporting is on. It doesn’t seem to require GPS, it also uses cell towers and Wi-Fi. Here’s Google’s explanation from their blog and a slightly more readable article here.
If you’re worried about privacy you can opt out. For people opted in the data seems to be anonymized and the beginning and end of each trip taken out. But honestly, if you have a cell phone you are tracked all the time, whether from the company, various apps or Google. Just so you know.
So that’s Google Traffic, now available in Sri Lanka. Can’t wait to check it out at school-time and compare.