If you’ve ever asked for directions in California, don’t ever judge your journey by the number of miles. Most Californians know that you determine the length of a journey by the time it takes, not the distance. For example, if you plan a trip during rush hour, your 5 mile journey in the Bay area could take 45 minutes.
Fortunately, Google’s based in California, so the developers at Google Maps are very much aware that time is just as important as miles. Now when you use Google Maps for major metropolitan areas around the country – those most likely to suffer from congestion – you’ll get an estimate of how long the trip could take in heavy traffic.
Let’s say you want to leave from Berkeley to catch the sunset from the beach at Half Moon Bay, to relax on the sand and watch the sun sink into the Pacific. We all know Google Maps will tell you how to get there. Now it’s better at helping you decide when to leave to catch your sunset on time. When you ask Google Maps for driving directions, the directions say “about 59 minutes”. But they also say something new: “up to 1 hour 50 minutes in traffic”.
Google has already added real time traffic data to certain cities, but now you can at least plan how long exactly your trip could take, if traffic is at a crawl.