Google Maps has caught up with Yahoo and Microsoft in adding live traffic reporting for the United States to their online mapping service.
Google Operating System spotted the change today (and Google now has the official word up here). To see the traffic yourself, just go to Google Maps and click on the new "Traffic" button that you’ll see in the upper right-hand corner of the map page, right before the "Map" and "Satellite" and "Hybrid" buttons.
Pushing that button will make traffic light icons show up, like this:
Everywhere you see an icon, that’s where you can get real-time traffic information.
Here is a screen capture of New York City traffic from Google Maps:
The green color symbolizes more than 50 miles per hour; the yellow color symbolizes 25-50 miles per hour; the red color symbolizes less than 25 miles per hour; and the gray color symbolizes that no data available.
Google is playing serious catch-up in adding this information to its mapping service. Yahoo began offering live traffic data for the United States on Yahoo Maps back on December 15, 2004, over two years ago.
To see traffic at Yahoo Map, zoom out to the US "country" level, then click on the "Live Traffic" button you’ll see at the top of the map. Places with traffic conditions being reported will appear. Unfortunately, Yahoo doesn’t appear to have more help information about getting real-time traffic that we can point you at.
Microsoft added live traffic on May 23, 2006. To see traffic at Microsoft Live Search Maps, zoom out to see the entire US, then click on the "Traffic" link above the map. Stoplight icons will appear where information is available.
Ask Maps now remains the only major search engine not to have life traffic data. But they do have walking directions, for those who find the traffic is too much!
How about live traffic on the move? Google has offered live traffic data on their mobile version of Google Maps since July 25, 2006, and Windows Live also has traffic on their mobile version. More on that in Danny’s recent post, Ironically, You Need A Map To Find Google & Microsoft’s Windows Mobile Map Apps. The latest version of Yahoo Go also appears to have live traffic info.