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Avoiding Traffic Jams... With Help From Google

Boot Camp feature for Thursday, August 3, 2006

Avoiding traffic jams…with help from Google. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. The most popular Internet search engine…has been getting into maps in a big way. If you haven't played with Google Earth on a PC, you're missing out on a pretty amazing display of what can be done with satellite images. About six months ago, Google began offering maps that could be accessed from cell phones. Now it is making those maps more useful by adding live traffic data. Product manager Gummi Hafsteinsson…

"You go to google.com/gmm on your mobile device, with a browser on your mobile device and you download an application from that Web site. And from then on, that application resides on the mobile handset and then you can use it anytime you want to get mapping or local information on your handset. We have a list of supported devices on the Web site, so if you go to the same URL on your PC desktop you can see the list of devices. But basically, it's a Java application which now runs on more than a hundred devices with a full list on the Web site."

It's kind of hit or miss….with some Windows mobile devices on the list….but not the Palm Treo yet. About where Google is getting the traffic data from, the product manager says…

"We don't disclose exactly where we're getting resources from, but we have several resources which we combine into one feed to derive the best quality possible."

The traffic data is available in thirty metropolitan areas in the U.S. And one of the best features… it's free. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.