Google Maps is literally installed on almost every single phone on the planet. It made life easier by making maps accessible to everyone. It is a wonderful source for traffic alerts and provides traffic alerts almost in real time. It automatically turns a route red if it observes unusual traffic. Simon Weckert, an artist from Berlin showed how easily Google’s systems can be manipulated if someone wants to. He tricked Google maps with 99 phones only.
He roamed around on the streets of Berlin with a cart full of phones to confuse Google Maps. Google Maps observed 99 smart phones and their slow speed, it thought there was congestion and marked the area as rushy. That led people to use alternative routes. Similarly, wherever Weckert went, Google Maps started turning that road red.
The idea came when Weckert saw something unusual at a May Day demonstration in Berlin. Google Maps showed a massive traffic jam, even though there were literally no cars on the street. Weckert realized, it was maybe because of the huge crowd, or their smart phones, that had led Google Maps believe that there was traffic jam on an empty street. Weckert decided to give it a try and planned the activity. He reached out to his friends n family and rental companies, collected 99 phones and performed the experiment.
Google response to this whole experiment was:
“We appreciate seeing creative uses of Google Maps like this as it helps us make maps work better over time.”