Google Maps adds traffic alerts, deals another blow to the sat nav

Google Maps is about to get a lot smarter at spotting delays in your route and helping you avoid them: from this weekend the app will show more information about pesky roadworks, traffic jams and other problems on the way to your destination - so long as you live in the US.

The current version of the app already shows congestion and roadworks ahead, but now you'll get more information to help you choose the best route and change it on the fly. The update is coming to the US in the next couple of days, but hopefully we'll see a wider rollout soon.

"While you're on the road, Google Maps will give you a heads up if congestion lies ahead, and how long you'll be stuck in a jam," advises Google. "You'll also get the option to take alternate routes, including explanations for why one is recommended - whether it's the fastest or avoids an incident."

So long sat navs?

It gives you another reason to ditch your creaky sat nav and invest in a phone holder instead - live traffic updates are one of the few areas where the old tech still offers more than the new tech.

Offline capabilities are still better on dedicated sat navs as well, and you could make a case for wanting to save battery life on your mobile by installing a separate gadget to get from A to B.

Still, the traditional dash nav is taking another beating today. We asked TomTom if they were on the way out - but apparently not. "We¹re still seeing a strong demand for the dedicated navigation device, or PND," said a spokesperson. "Consumer research shows that 84% of people who currently use a PND would continue to choose a PND when they next purchase navigation."

David Nield
Freelance Contributor

Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.