Google Maps is a really handy feature from the search giant that enables you to navigate to some place or just know wherever you are. It has several features baked in like Navigation, various transport options, offline maps capability and also advising you on the traffic conditions.
Speaking of the Traffic conditions functionality, it has been there for a while now, but mostly in developed countries. In Africa, or specifically in Kenya, we’ve not had the functionality on Google Maps since we started using the service until we noticed something interesting on November last year.
It was a silent update where it seemed like Google was testing live traffic information for Nairobi and this was a cool update since we grapple with crazy traffic during rush hour. At the time, it only displayed the various colour coded traffic warning signs but couldn’t get more information if you tapped on the Traffic button. It was unofficial but it hinted on a future announcement by Google and that has been made thanks to a post by Google Africa.
According to Google, they have updated Google Maps with new traffic alerts for Kenya and also South Africa and Nigeria. This is how they describe the feature:
Google Maps will give you a heads up if congestion lies ahead, and how long you’ll be stuck in a jam. You’ll also get the option to take alternate routes, excluding explanations for why one is recommended-whether it’s the fastest or just avoids traffic.
The alerts are periodically given when you are using the navigation option on Google maps. It will guide you to your route while giving recommendations so that you can avoid traffic jams in the area. It would be interesting to see how this feature will be used by Kenyans alongside the likes of Ma3Route or Google’s own Waze.