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With Google Maps helping commuters find their location and navigate back and forth from their work all the while giving live traffic information, enabling people pick quickest route to their destination, it is hands down one of the most reliable tool created by Google. But is it, really?
Simon Weckert, a German artist, spoofed Google maps into creating a virtual traffic jam by strolling on an almost empty road of Berlin with a handcart full of 99 smartphones, each connected to Google app for navigation.
In the video he posted on YouTube, Simon can be seen trudging along the near-empty roads with his cartful of smartphones, and as he does this, the green signal on the map turns red showing heavy traffic jam in the area.
Google maps basically generates traffic information by calculating the number of phones present on a road using the Google application. Simon used this loophole of the app by concentrating all the phones together in an empty road and manipulating the app into presenting it as a traffic jam.
Responding to this experiment, a Google representative said that the application can distinguish between cars and motorcycles, but it has not been able to detect wagons yet.
Within a few days, the video has garnered millions of views. While the experiment seems amusing, it also indicates towards how this weakness of the app can be used for iniquitous means, and disrupt the service and its users completely.
It is hoped that Google will look into the matter and work on the app’s vulnerability readily.