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How Does Google Maps Predict Traffic?

The green, yellow and red routes that Google Maps uses to indicate clear, slow-moving, or heavily congested traffic are a great help when you’re trying to determine the fastest way to your destination, but how does Google know the traffic conditions between where you are and where you’re trying to go?

Google Maps bases its traffic views and faster-route recommendations on two different kinds of information: historical data about the average time it takes to travel a particular section of road at specific times on specific days and real-time data sent by sensors and smartphones that report how fast cars are moving right then.

Early versions of Google Maps relied only on data from traffic sensors, most of which were installed by government transportation agencies or private companies that specialize in compiling traffic data. Using radar, active infrared or laser radar technology, the sensors are able to detect the size and speed of passing vehicles and then wirelessly transmit that information to a server.

Data from these sensors can be used to provide real-time traffic updates, and, once collected, the information becomes part of the pool of historical data used to predict traffic volume on future dates. However, sensor data was largely limited to highways and primary roads because the sensors were typically installed only on the most heavily traveled or traffic-prone routes.

Beginning in 2009, Google turned to crowdsourcing to improve the accuracy of its traffic predictions. When Android phone users turn on their Google Maps app with GPS location enabled, the phone sends back bits of data, anonymously, to Google that let the company know how fast their cars are moving. Google Maps continuously combines the data coming in from all the cars on the road and sends it back by way of those colored lines on the traffic layers.

As more and more drivers use the app, the traffic predictions become more reliable because Google Maps can look at the average speed of cars traveling along the same route without misinterpreting someone’s morning coffee stop as a traffic jam. If Google Maps doesn’t have enough data to estimate the traffic flow for a particular section of road, that section will appear in gray on the traffic layer.

With its acquisition of Waze in 2013, Google added a human element to its traffic calculations. Drivers use the Waze app to report traffic incidents including accidents, disabled vehicles, slowdowns and even speed traps. These real-time reports appear as individual points on Google Maps, with small icons representing things like construction signs, crashed cars or speed cameras.

Called from howstuffworks.

Best laptop 2020: our pick of the 15 best laptops you can buy this year

If you’re looking for the best laptops of 2020, then you’ve come to the right place, as in this guide we’ve gathered together the very best laptops for a range of uses.

From the best gaming laptops that will play all the latest titles, to affordable Chromebooks and budget laptops – and everything else in between – this list of the best laptops will help you find the right laptop for your needs, no matter what you’re looking for.

In our view, 2020 could be a very exciting year for laptops, with some brilliant laptops that could revolutionise the way we use our notebooks on the horizon, and in this guide we’ll show you what the best laptops are that you can buy right now.

We’re constantly updating our best laptops list, and we’ve now got a new pick for the best laptop in the world: the HP Elite Dragonfly. This is a stunningly-designed laptop that’s incredibly thin and light, while also offering brilliant performance and cutting-edge features, such as built-in LTE connectivity for mobile internet.

But if the HP Elite Dragonfly isn’t right for you, read on for more brilliant suggestions. Every device in our best laptops list has been extensively tested by us, while our price comparison tool will make sure you get the best deals for the best laptops.

Best laptops 2020 at a glance:

  1. Best laptop overall: HP Elite Dragonfly
  2. Best laptop runner up: Dell XPS 13 (2019)
  3. Best laptop for pure value: Huawei MateBook 13
  4. Best 2-in-1 laptop: HP Spectre x360 (2019)
  5. Best Apple laptop: MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019)
  6. Best gaming laptop: Alienware Area-51m
  7. Best Chromebook: Google Pixelbook Go
  8. Best laptop by Microsoft: Microsoft Surface Laptop 3
  9. Best laptop for productivity: Dell XPS 15 2-in-1
  10. Best budget gaming laptop: Dell G5 15 5590
  11. Best affordable Chromebook: Asus Chromebook Flip
  12. Best mid-range laptop: Asus VivoBook S15
  13. Best affordable laptop: Acer Switch 3
  14. Best cheap MacBook: Apple MacBook 12-inch (2017)
  15. Best looking laptop: HP Spectre Folio