Google Puts Traffic Maps on Cell Phones

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Internet behemoth Google has taken the wraps off a new service for mobile phones which puts real-time traffic information and travel time estimates in the palms of users hands while they’re en-route, in traffic, or anywhere they might use their cell phone. The service might not avert an intergalactic disaster, but it might help some users get to their destinations on time.

The new addition to Google Maps for Mobile enables users in over 30 major metropolitan areas in the United States to receive real-time traffic conditions, view conjested areas, and estimate travel delays; the service also enabled users to store favorite locations (home, work, schools, businesses, etc.) and favorite routes so users don’t have to re-enter addresses and locations to plan their travel.

Traffic info is available for New York Chicago, Los Angeles, Seattle, and other areas, with partial coverage available in many more metropolitan areas: to see if your locale is covered, check out Google Maps interactive demo. The maps offer three levels of congestion information: green means open roads, yellow or orange means some congestion is present, and red means slow going.

Yahoo also offers traffic information on its mapping service, but the information isn’t yet available for mobile phone users.