How long does it take to drive from point A to point B? Before you fire up Google Maps to get the answer, you might want to tune into your local radio station for traffic updates or, better still, ask a local. That’s because Google has eliminated its predictive driving service from Google Maps: Better hope there’s no traffic!
In the past, grabbing driving directions between two locations would give you two different route times. The first, which is the route time that currently remains in Google Maps, is a simple no-holds-barred calculation that assumes clear skies, free roads, and your pedal to the legal metal. The second calculation, and in many ways the more useful of the two, was a prediction of how long your actual journey might take based on an analysis of traffic patterns along your route. Your destination might be a mere hour away, but the traffic-based number could put you at an hour-thirty (or worse, if you were stuck in San Francisco Bay Area traffic).
Well, apparently Google’s estimation was a wee closer to an educated guess than a realistic analysis of how traffic would impede your journey.
“We have decided that our information systems behind this feature were not as good as they could be,” said Google community manager Daniel Mabasa in a Google Help thread. “Therefore, we have taken this offline and are currently working to come up with a better, more accurate solution. We are always working to bring you the best Google Maps experience with updates like these!”
Handheld users take note, however: The traffic estimator still works on the iPhone and Android versions of Google Maps. If you’re super-concerned about the time it might take you to drive somewhere during rush hour, use your smartphone instead of your computer to plot the trip!
Google launched its traffic estimating service for Google Maps in 2007.