After four years, Google Maps quietly deleted its traffic feature, only providing an explanation when the critics started to speak out
Nearly four years after introducing its traffic feature, Google Maps has quietly killed the project because it may have been misleading its customers from day one. Just about every search for directions from one point to another made on Google since the traffic feature was rolled out on August 1, 2007, was accompanied by two estimates for how long the trip would take -- one estimate without traffic and one with. The image below and to the right, captured by Barry Schwartz at the Search Engine Roundtable, the first blogger to discover the change as best I can tell, shows what Google Maps results used to look like. The screenshot above is an example of what they look like today.
Google's users who noticed the change before Schwartz did turned to the Google forums for answers. After a few people weighed in, Daniel Mabasa, a Google employee, followed up. "[W]e have decided that our information systems behind this feature were not as good as they could be," Mabasa wrote. "Therefore, we have taken this offline and are currently working to come up with a better, more accurate solution. We are always working to bring you the best Google Maps experience with updates like these!"