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Google Traffic Report Application Keeps Privacy in Mind

September 10, 2009

A Google Maps feature now creates traffic reports based on how fast some of its users are traveling on all United States highways and arterials when data is available. The system works with users who enable Google Maps with My Location on a GPS-enabled phone, according to thewherebusiness.com.

The phone describes how fast the user is moving, and Google calculates the speed of thousands of other phones on the road to create a live traffic report. The traffic reports become more accurate as more people participate.

Google sends the back to the users in the Google Maps traffic layers. The service is provided free of charge.

Google has also built relevant privacy protections into the application, using only anonymous speed and location information to calculate traffic conditions. Also, users can opt-out to stop their phones from sending anonymous location data back to Google. In addition, data from many people in the same area is combined, making it difficult to tell one phone from another. To further prevent people from finding out where an anonymous vehicle came from or where it went, Google finds the start and end points of every trip and permanently deletes that data, so that even Google won't have access to it.

Some phones, such as the T-Mobile myTouch 3G and the Palm Pre, come with Google Maps and traffic crowdsourcing pre-installed.

 

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