When was the last time you used Google Maps? For me, it was just this morning.
Since the introduction of the app in 2008, Google Maps has slowly become a navigation aid for millions across the world.
For drivers, the app pulls data from other app users on the road at any one time, enabling its algorithms to offer the quickest or most convenient route according to current traffic conditions. You know the app is doing its job when some of the roads on the map turn red, indicating a traffic snarl. When this happens, the app’s algorithms spring into action and will, if it can, offer a better route that takes you around the road congestion.
The technology that powers Google Maps recently caught the attention of Artist Simon Weckert. With a deep interest in the digital world, Weckert decided he wanted to find out if 99 smartphones wheeled along in a small cart would create a virtual traffic jam in Google Maps.
Walking the streets of Berlin, Germany, with a cart full of borrowed and rented phones all running Google Maps, Weckert's video of the stunt (below) appears to show all of the streets in which he walked turning red on Maps. That's right - he apparently fooled Maps into thinking there was a traffic jam when there wasn't. And as a result, Google Maps re-routed drivers in the area to other streets to avoid the jam (yes, the one that didn't exist). Of course, Weckert couldn't resist passing by Google’s Berlin office, too, creating gridlock (on Maps, at least) with his cart full of smartphones.
Next time, don't believe the red line in your google maps. It could just be Simon walking by.