An artist wheeled 99 smartphones around in a wagon to create fake traffic jams on Google Maps

The Journal

An artist pulled 99 smartphones around Berlin in a red wagon, tracking how the gadgets affected Google Maps’ traffic interface.

Simon Weckert smartphone project

An artist “hacked” Google Maps’ traffic display and all it took was a red wagon and 99 smartphones.

Simon Weckert toted the pile of smartphones down empty streets in Berlin. Every street he traversed suddenly appeared as a red, traffic-heavy zone on Google Maps, causing drivers to reroute to avoid the streets, as shown in Weckert’s YouTube video documenting the results.

Weckert essentially gamed the mechanism Google Maps uses to predict traffic. The app constantly pings smartphones actively using Google’s software in order to determine the approximate density of traffic and how fast that traffic is moving.

For Weckert’s experiment, all 99 smartphones were turned on with Google Maps running.

In an email to Business Insider, Weckert said he isn’t sure whether Google has patched Maps…

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