Google Maps has been a real boon to the general public - it helps us get to work on time (if that's your thing), tells us how long the traffic jam in Gurgaon is, and generally makes life easier. Almost everything can be hacked however, and this app is no different, as one man proved.
Performance artist Simon Weckert took 99 used phones in a cart and pulled them through the streets of Berlin. This resulted in Google Maps displaying that area as congested, even though it was mostly empty.
Maps recognised the phones as a 'spike in traffic', and marked the streets with a red line. People planning to take that road would then be advised to take a different route on Maps.
He did this to show that while the app is extremely useful, it is also extremely powerful in the wrong hands. It might be an app on your phone, but it can cause very real changes in a city.
He also described the experience on his website, saying,
Googles Maps has fundamentally changed our understanding of what a map is, how we interact with maps, their technological limitations, and how they look aesthetically. In this fashion, Google Maps makes virtual changes to the real city.
While this might have been a fun little experiment, he also pointed out that if the app can be manipulated so easily, certain problems are bound to arise.
You can watch the full video below.