Google Maps is a navigation and traffic tool used by millions of people around the globe. And earlier this year, this widely-popular app was “hacked” when someone created virtual traffic jams using a wagon full of smartphones. Often, the maps change colors to reflect congestion or accidents, or if it gets bad enough, the app will even recommend alternative routes.
The more people are using Maps in one area, the worse the traffic potentially is. Simon Weckert took advantage of this, loaded 99 smartphones into a wagon, and opened the Google Maps app on all of them. As he walked down the street, Google recognized the high concentration of “users” and marked the street as having bad traffic.
Weckert even “drove” his wagon full of smartphones outside of Google’s Berlin offices to create the virtual traffic jam there. Google responded to the situation, saying that the company does indeed use a large number of devices running Maps in a single place as proof of a traffic jam and although the app has the ability to distinguish between cars and motorcycles, the company hasn’t quite cracked traveling by wagon. Hopefully, Google will continue to take measures to prevent this sort of thing from happening, as not doing so could leave the app open to being abused by someone with the right resources.