Using real-time data pulled from Google Maps, the widget shows your current location and uses red, orange and green to indicate how busy traffic is on nearby roads. So, instead of opening the Maps app and planning a route to see local traffic, the widget will show you an overview right on your smartphone’s home screen.
We can see this being really useful when you don’t need Google Maps to direct you to a frequently visited destination, like the office or nearby supermarket, but want to quickly check how busy the local roads are.
If the main road is red on the widget, then maybe it’s worth holding off on that drive to the shops, or picking a different route to the office.
The widget can be zoomed in and out to adjust the view – handy if you want a closer look at the traffic situation on one particular road, or prefer an overview of the local area, all without opening the Google Maps app itself.
Google said of the widget in a blog post: Real-time traffic predictions can help you easily plan your route. And with the new nearby traffic widget, launching in the coming weeks, you’ll see this information for your current location right from your Android home screen.”
iPhone users are already able to add Google Maps widgets to their home screen. This widget also shows live local traffic information, and can be edited to instead show an estimate for how long it’ll take to drive home from your current location, or quickly find nearby destinations like restaurants and petrol stations.