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February 25 2014

January 29 2014

Rome Asks Citizens to Tweet Against Illegal Parking

Citizens of Rome have an unlikely new weapon to fight against double-parked cars and vehicles obstructing sidewalks in their city: Twitter.

For a little over a month, Rome's municipal government has allowed citizens to flag and denounce cars that are illegally parked, by tweeting at the official Twitter account of local police. Since then, citizens have sent more than 1,100 tweets — often with photos — that call out illegally parked cars, and ask police to take action, Reuters reported

In addition to photos, citizens tweet the exact location of the cars, so police can intervene quickly Read more...

More about Traffic, Car Parking, Italy, Twitter, and Us World

January 18 2014

New Jersey Subpoenas Christie Aides in Traffic Probe

A New Jersey State Assembly committee subpoenaed 18 of Gov. Chris Christie's top aides and appointees in the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey on Friday to find out how many government officials helped create a huge four-day traffic jam in Fort Lee, N.J. as political payback against the borough's mayor.

The subpoenas name several of Christie's Port Authority appointees, as well as nearly everyone in his administration, including Bridget Anne Kelly and Bill Stepien, the governor's former deputy chief of staff and former campaign manager, respectively, both of whom Christie fired for their involvement in the scandal. His press secretary Michael Drewniak, who documents show was aggressive in his efforts to prevent the media from getting more information about the mysterious traffic jam, has also been subpoenaed, as have the Office of the Governor and Chris Christie For Governor, Inc., his reelection campaign. Read more...

More about Traffic, New Jersey, Us World, Politics, and Us

January 14 2014

5 Reasons People May Actually Watch Christie's State Address Today

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie hasn't appeared in public since his 107-minute damage-control press conference last week on the now-infamous bridge scandal. But today he'll have to emerge from the shadows for his annual state of the state address.

Christie is expected to focus on education and a post-Sandy New Jersey. But, for the public, those subjects will take a backseat in light of two recent scandals that have turned Christie's image from definite Republican presidential candidate into a governor who can barely manage the drama in his own state.

More about Traffic, Scandal, New Jersey, Bridge, and Us World

January 13 2014

1+ Hour Commutes Are Most Common in These 10 U.S. Cities

Whether by train, car or ferry, nearly one-third of New Yorkers spend more than an hour commuting in each direction every day

Statista's chart, below, shows the percentage of urban commuters who spend more than one hour on each leg of their trip.

In addition, New Yorkers have the longest average travel time, clocking in at 39.2 minutes, according to the chart

2014_01_10_CommuteHave something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.

Image: Chris Hondros/Getty Images

More about New York, Traffic, Us, Lifestyle, and Work Play

January 09 2014

Christie and the Bridge: A Political Scandal Made for Netflix

New Jersey Republican governor and likely 2016 presidential candidate Chris Christie had just wrapped up his morning workout on Wednesday when he got a call that plunged him into the biggest scandal of his career. Some of his staffers and his appointees at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey had decided in September to give the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee, N.J., the week from hell — and now the world knew.

Emails from a Christie aide to an official at the Port Authority show they orchestrated a massive four-day traffic jam in Fort Lee all because the borough's mayor, Mark Sokolich, refused to support the governor's reelection bid. Christie has repeatedly denied his staff had any involvement in the scandal, and although he still says he had no idea, the governor has now changed his tone, saying he was misled and is appalled by the behavior. Read more...

More about Email, Traffic, Mayor, Us World, and Politics
'Heartbroken' Christie Fires Top Aide, Apologizes for Bridge Scandal

A series of emails and documents linked New Jersey GovChris Christie to the mysterious closure of two lanes onto the George Washington Bridge on Wednesday, part of a plot orchestrated by close Christie aides to create a traffic gridlock allegedly for political revenge

Following this revelation, Christie faced the cameras on Thursday at the New Jersey State House in the state capital of Trenton, at a press conference during which he addressed the scandal labeled as "Bridgegate." Ahead of the conference, the New York Times reported that the U.S. Attorney's Office in New Jersey will open an inquiry into the lane closure incident. Read more...

More about Email, Traffic, New Jersey, Us World, and Politics

December 05 2013

The Genius Ways Beijing Drivers Get Around the City's License Plate Lottery

It just got even harder for car owners in Beijing to get a coveted license plate, a necessary commodity for the city of 13 million’s 7.5 million drivers.

Since 2011, the plates have been awarded in a lottery system that people joke is more difficult to win than the country’s actual lottery. It was put in place as cars poured on to Beijing’s roads, causing traffic jams and choking fumes — they more than doubled in 10 years, to 5.2 million in 2012. Last month, Beijing announced it would make things even tougher, by cutting the number of new license plates it issues to drivers by more than a third to further battle congestion and pollution. Starting next year, officials will make things tougher still by holding the lottery drawing every other month instead of every month, the Read more...

More about China, Traffic, Driving, Transportation, and License Plates

November 12 2013

By Popular Demand: Quora Adds Traffic-Tracking Tool for Writers

Quora is hoping to attract more content creators by giving them an inside look at traffic to their posts

The question-and-answer service announced a new analytics tool Tuesday that enables its writers to monitor the number of views, upvotes (Quora's version of Likes) and shares their posts and answers receive on the site

The tracking tool creates a graph of the metrics and breaks them down by time periods like "last 3 months" or "last 7 days." The new tool will be available to some users beginning Tuesday on both desktop and mobile and will roll out to all users over the "coming weeks," according to Marc Bodnick, head of the business and community teams at Quora. Read more...

More about Tracking, Traffic, Google Analytics, Analytics, and Steve Jobs

August 22 2012

Get There Faster With These 4 Traffic Apps

Sitting in traffic may seem like a necessary evil, but several app developers are devoted to making driving suck less. Commuting was once a lonely experience with drivers victimized by conditions outside their control. But what if cars on the road could move in harmony rather than like a tidal wave?

Mobile phone technology makes it possible to communicate with the people around you -- passively and indirectly -- therefore allowing everyone to move efficiently together. In addition to helping drivers avoid roadblocks, traffic apps are discovering interesting data around driving and commuting that can in turn inspire cities to create better infrastructures. Here, we've rounded up four a…
Continue reading...

More About: Global Innovation Series, Mobile, features, mashable, mobile apps, navigation, traffic

October 10 2011

Google+ Traffic Falls 60% After Public Launch [REPORT]

Traffic to Google+ spiked 1,200% in the first few days following its public launch Sept. 20, but has since plummeted by 60%, according to a report from a data analytics company.

Chitika tracked Google+ traffic before and after the social networking service opened its gates to all users.

“The data shows that, on the day of its public debut, Google+ traffic skyrocketed to peak levels. But, soon after, traffic fell by over 60% as it returned to its normal, underwhelming state,” Chitika says of its findings, as illustrated in the chart below.

Google+ hit 25 million unique visitors in its first month of operation, comScore found, making it one of the fastest growing social networks of all time. Google+ has since released a slew of updates and new features, and opened its doors to the public. It has even had public figures broadcast to fans via Google Hangouts.

But is Google+ a hit or miss? It’s hard to say. In mid July, Google CEO Larry Page revealed the Facebook-challenger had 10 million users who share 1 billion items each day. We haven’t heard from the company on how Google+ has grown in users, shares or traffic since. The most recent unofficial count pegged the number of Google+ users at 43 million.

Meanwhile, Chitika’s findings — likely a representation of traffic patterns and not a wholly accurate reflection — seem to suggest Google+ may not be convincing new users (or even Google executives) to stick around.

Mashable has reached out to Google for comment.

More About: Google, traffic

July 14 2011

Google Maps Gets Traffic Info in 13 European Countries

Google Maps now has live traffic info in 13 additional European countries: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Spain and Switzerland.

The traffic feature was introduced for the U.S. in 2008. Besides live traffic information for freeways, highways, and large roads in major cities, it shows predictions based on past traffic conditions. UK users should also see a finer grain of street level coverage with this update.

The live traffic info is frequently updated, showing traffic events from the past five to 10 minutes. The feature is available on mobile devices as well as in the browser version of Google Maps.

More About: europe, Google, Google Maps, gps, live traffic, traffic, traffic info

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July 05 2011

iPads Generate 1% of the World’s Web Traffic [STATS]

ipad image

Apple’s iPad is responsible for 1% of the world’s web traffic, as well as 2.1% of web traffic in the U.S., according to the latest numbers from NetMarketShare.

Looking at earlier reports, the iPad’s share of web traffic has been steadily growing by 10% or more since March 2011. And looking at the overall market share of mobile and tablet devices compared to desktops, we can see that it reached 5% for the first time in June.

It’s too early to proclaim the death of the desktop, but the trend is strong and obvious — tablets and smartphones are becoming an increasingly important part of our online life.

These latest numbers reinforce a similar report from StatCounter in April. That report indicated that the iPad iOS accounted for 1.17% of U.S. web traffic, ahead of Linux, which only accounted for .71%.

More About: apple, iOS, ipad, netmarketshare, stats, traffic, web traffic

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June 13 2011

Facebook Lost Users in the U.S. & Canada in May [REPORT]

Facebook‘s growth has become a thing of legend, but a recent report suggests it may have lost ground in parts of North America. The world’s largest social network soared past its competitors to reach half a billion users in July 2010, and fueled by strong international growth, it’s poised to reach 700 million users within weeks.

However, according to data from Inside Facebook, Facebook’s growth in April and May 2011 slowed considerably. It gained 11.8 million new users in May, and 13.9 million in April — compared to a typical month in the last year when it grew by at least 20 million users.

In May, Facebook gained more than 1 million users in several countries, including Mexico, India, Brazil, Indonesia and the Philippines. However, it lost approximately 6 million users in the United States and 1.5 million in Canada — a first for the company in the past year — which contributed to the decrease in overall growth.

Traffic data, especially coming from a third-party source, can be skewed for a number of reasons, but if Facebook’s growth has slowed down in two consecutive months (and if the trend continues), it might be a significant pointer for the company’s future. In 2008 Facebook started growing like a weed, surpassing expectations month after month, but at some point this tremendous growth will have to slow, especially in the most saturated markets like the U.S. and Canada.

Has that moment arrived? It’s possible, but we cannot be sure just yet. We’ve reached out to Facebook for a comment on the data, and will update the post when we learn more.

More About: Canada, facebook, growth, social network, social networking, traffic, U.S.

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April 28 2011

Is Reddit Eclipsing Digg in Traffic?

Digg’s precipitous plummet has left Reddit with a bigger-than-ever piece of the Internet pie, according to stats from three major traffic-tracking organizations.

In fact, according to two of these sources, Reddit is already the larger web property in terms of page views and visits.

For the first time ever Thursday, Alexa showed Digg’s reach being eclipsed by Reddit. According to the online ranking service, Reddit is now the 117th most popular site on the web, while Digg has fallen to 138th.

To quote a famous animated bird, “I’m think I’m going to have a heart attack and die of not-surprise.”

Digg has been waning in every sensestaff, effect on the wider community of content creators, traffic — for quite some time. In fact, we can pinpoint the start of Digg’s serious troubles: the user-led revolt against the “New Digg”.

Simultaneously, Reddit was showing signs of significant growth. In fact, the site claimed it passed a billion page views per month this February.

Let’s take a look at the stats from a few sources. While their methods differ, most of these numbers tell the same basic story. Digg is trending downward, while Reddit is still on the rise.

Here’s a look at both unique visitors and site visits from Quantcast:

And here are similar stats from Compete.com:

Finally, we have data from Alexa showing reach and pageviews from the past six months (where you can see the trend gaining momentum) and the past seven days:

Will Digg’s not-so-slow decline end in obsolesence or acquisition? Let us know what you think in the comments.

More About: digg, reddit, traffic

For more Social Media coverage:

April 13 2011

How Smarter Parking Technology Will Reduce Traffic Congestion

The Global Innovation Series is supported by BMW i, a new concept dedicated to providing mobility solutions for the urban environment. It delivers more than purpose-built electric vehicles — it delivers smart mobility services. Visit bmw-i.com or follow @bmwi on Twitter.

Between 8% and 74% of traffic in congested downtown areas is caused by people cruising for parking, according to a report by UCLA professor Donald Shoup who synthesized studies from 70 years of research on the subject. The paper indicates that drivers in major cities — including San Francisco, Sydney, New York and London — spend between 3.5 and 14 minutes searching for a space each time they park.

The last study Shoup included in his report ended in 2001. Today, wasted cruising time is likely longer, and it’s on track to get worse. During a recent Ted Talk in March, Ford Motor Company Executive Chairman Bill Ford Jr. estimated that the number of cars on the road could go from 800 million to nearly 3 billion by 2050.

Ford also shares a solution for avoiding the gridlock that so many cars might cause (and no, it has nothing to do with reducing the number of cars on the road). What he envisions is a world in which cars are connected to each other and to cities, enabling drivers to avoid traffic, calculate exact driving time and efficiently manage parking spaces.

While the sci-fi possibilities of Ford’s full vision have yet to be realized, many companies and cities have started implementing smart solutions for parking and traffic problems. What they’re learning in these first steps may help shape the future of smart driving.

Smart Parking Technology

The city of Los Angeles recently installed low-power sensors and smart meters to track the occupancy of parking spaces throughout the Hollywood district, one of its most congested areas. The sensors are about the size of a coffee cup lid and are embedded in the asphalt. The smart meters attach to regular meters and allow users to pay with their mobile phones in addition to communicating payment information to the city.

With the information from the sensors, the city is able to change pricing on its parking depending on demand — raising it for a special event or a particularly busy hour, for instance. The information also alerts enforcement officials about expired parking meters or other parking violations and reduces the time they spend driving in circles.

Drivers can also access information gathered by the sensors through a free app called Parker. The app alerts drivers where there they are or are not likely to find an available parking space so that they can save time cruising around.

The city of Los Angeles saw a return on its investment within three months, according to Streetline, the company that created the technology. Similar programs have been implemented in Sausalito, California, Washington, D.C., Salt Lake City and Roosevelt Island in New York City. The University of Maryland recently installed the sensors to keep track of which electric car charging stations are vacant.

Streetline Vice President Kelly Schwager says parking is just the tip of the iceberg, and the company plans to help create around smart cities and traffic management.

“Once you have this infrastructure of sensors throughout a city, you can use these networks in a number of different ways,” she says. “We’re starting in parking today, but eventually you can envision this being used for measurement of pollution or to detect if a water pressure system in a fire hydrant is operating at the right pressure or if a streetlight bulb needs to be replaced. … there are lots of smart city applications that can be built on top of this.”

Crowdsourcing Parking and Traffic Information

Installing Streetline’s sensors is an expensive prospect at about $20 to $30 per sensor per month. Even if the technology does eventually result in savings, as it did in Los Angeles, it’s not a line item that most city governments can slip into their budgets. But several other companies have taken an approach to improving congestion that relies not on installing technology but rather on crowdsourcing information.

Brooklyn-based Roadify, for instance, awards users with “StreetCARma points” for spotting parking spots for the community. Users enter the address of a spot that they are about to leave or one that they happen to walk by. Other users nearby will see that spot on the app if they search the area.

Since Roadify’s launch in November 2009, about 40,000 spots have been “given” in New York. The parking aspect admittedly has a ways to go before it becomes a real-time parking space map, but the concept has helped the company expand to an app that helps users avoid traffic jams, navigate subway delays and track buses as well. While the non-parking categories are based on data provided by the city, crowdsourcing enhances them.

“Numbers are great, but they lack a certain amount of information,” explains Dylan Goelz, Roadify’s head of user experience. “A sensor can tell me that at this one point on the Brooklyn Bridge [traffic] is going so many mph, but 10 feet in front of it, it might be going 0 [mph].”

The same inconsistencies apply in posted and actual bus schedules and subway delays.

Another startup, Waze, crowdsources traffic information, but it doesn’t rely on user reports to do so. The app automatically crowdsources road maps and traffic information by tracking where its users drive with the app open. If drivers in a specific area slow down, the app automatically detects and displays a traffic jam to warn other drivers. Drivers stuck in the jam can choose to actively report it and upload photos from their phone, in addition to the automatically transmitted information.

City-Led Initiatives

Unless it had massive adoption rates, Roadify’s app wouldn’t be as useful without city data. As more cities open their databases to the public, the number of applications designed for navigating transportation and traffic like Roadify is bound to increase.

New York City started a competition in 2010 to award apps that use city databases. Roadify won this year’s grand prize, and transportation apps in general were well represented. Third place winner Best Parking provides parking information by address. Honorable mention NextStop tells users when their next subway train will arrive.

Other cities such as Paris, Washington, D.C., San Francisco and many others have also made some of their data available to developers.

Eventually San Francisco’s database will include some information that Roadify developers are looking forward to integrating — the city is currently testing smart meters and sensors at 6,000 of its 25,000 metered parking spaces. Similar to the Streetline solution in Los Angeles, it will use the information it gathers to adjust parking rates based on demand.

“We know it is going to happen, we’re happy to see it come,” Goelz says. “But in the meantime everyone has a role to play if they want to make it smarter.”

What Innovations Are Improving Your Community?

Do you know of a forward-thinking startup or technology that deserves to be a part of the Global Innovation Series? Let us know about it in the comments below.

Series Supported by BMW i

The Global Innovation Series is supported by BMW i, a new concept dedicated to providing mobility solutions for the urban environment. It delivers more than purpose-built electric vehicles; it delivers smart mobility services within and beyond the car. Visit bmw-i.com or follow @bmwi on Twitter.

Are you an innovative entrepreneur? Submit your pitch to BMW i Ventures, a mobility and tech venture capital company.

More About: Global Innovation Series, roadify, SFpark, smart parking, streetline, tech, traffic, waze

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December 31 2010

Delicious’s Loss Is Startups’ Gain As Users Jump Ship

Startups in the web-based bookmarking space are seeing huge surges in the final days of December following news that Delicious may shut down or be sold in the near future.

While Yahoo insiders say Delicious’s future remains uncertain — and continuing service and new registrations may be unlikely — startups such as YourVersion, Springpad, Histori.us and others have seen spikes in traffic and usage, much of which is due to Delicious users jumping ship and importing their bookmarks onto other sites.

On December 16, a leaked slide from a Yahoo all-hands meeting showed that the semi-popular social bookmarking app Delicious, which the former company acquired back in 2005, was set for a “sunset” phase.

While Yahoo claims it wants to sell the app rather than kill it off entirely, it’s difficult to say who would buy the service, given its financial struggles and deep integration with Yahoo’s technology.

As a result of the leaked slide, Delicious users have rushed to find alternative bookmarking apps and features. Many of the startups in this space have built and publicized importing tools for quickly and easily migrating from Delicious to their apps.

Springpad CEO Jeff Janer wrote to us in an e-mail, “We’ve seen more than 2 million bookmarks migrated from Delicious to Springpad in the last 10 days.”

And YourVersion CEO Dan Olsen wrote that while his company has supported Delicious imports for a while, “We did see a traffic surge in December from Delicious users… In fact, the Delicious servers were often timing out when people were trying to do imports via the API, so we quickly added the ability to import your bookmarks from an XML file as well.”

Delicious traffic, according to a couple of metrics tools, has seen wider-than-usual swings in December. A surge around the time of the leaked slide seems in line with the volume of alarming news about the service. However, the subsequent dip in traffic, while it could be due to end-of-week and holiday doldrums, could also signify a coming dive in traffic as the “sunset” approaches.

Several competing startups we looked at, however, have seen marked spikes in traffic for the same time period. According to Alexa.com, Histori.us’s traffic was up 40% for the month, Pinboard.in saw a 720% spike, Zootool was up 21%; Springpad’s site saw a 30% increase in traffic; and YourVersion was up 154%. These are just figures for web traffic, not mobile or tablet apps.

It will be interesting to see how the Delicious drama plays out in 2011, and perhaps more interesting to see how these startups continue to capitalize on the sunset of a rather large web service.

Reviews: Delicious, springpad

More About: delicious, springpad, traffic, Yahoo, yourversion

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December 03 2010

By Traffic, Groupon Is Ten Times Bigger Than Its Nearest Competitor

While we don’t have access to the internal financial documents of companies in the local/group coupon-buying space — one of the hottest verticals to emerge in 2010 — we can tell by looking at site traffic that Groupon exponentially outstrips its nearest competitors, LivingSocial and BuyWithMe.

These companies have spent a fair amount of time in the headlines lately, especially given recent rumors of a Google acquisition of Groupon. And LivingSocial just picked up a huge round of funding from Amazon, as well.

But according to traffic stats — and admittedly, there’s not an exact correlation between traffic and traditional factors of profitability — LivingSocial saw a boost over the summer that never turned into the hockey stick graph most companies like to see as an indicator of early, rapid growth. Rather, traffic briefly held steady then began to dwindle. Currently, LivingSocial sees about as much traffic as Groupon did this time one year ago.

Groupon, on the other hand, saw a dip in traffic in September, but it’s otherwise been on a steep incline since the beginning of 2010.

LivingSocial reports a userbase of 10 million to Groupon’s 12 million; by that metric, the companies aren’t that far apart. But again, startup-reported user metrics can create a deliberately hazy view of a company’s overall health.

A Google acquisition for Groupon could spell further trouble for LivingSocial, too. The former company’s ad spend would decrease by about $1 million per month, as its Google-placed ads would be free.

Still, there’s room for LivingSocial, BuyWithMe and other such startups in the market. As a smaller (in terms of traffic and users) company, it has the willingness and ability to work with small and medium-sized businesses in a way that Groupon may not any longer.

What do you make of these traffic numbers? We’d love to get your opinions in the comments.

Reviews: Amazon.com, Google

More About: groupon, living social, LivingSocial, location, startups, traffic

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October 26 2010

Google Now Accounts for 6.4% of Internet Traffic

The Internet is growing fast, but Google is growing even faster. According to online security company Arbor Networks, Google now represents an average 6.4% of all Internet traffic.

This is a new record for Google, as it gained more than 1% of all Internet traffic share since January. Now, only one global ISP handles more traffic, and a lot of that traffic is Google’s traffic, anyway.

The number is even more incredible if you consider that Internet traffic is growing at a staggering 40-45% each year, and Google is still gaining market share.

However, Google’s share may be even bigger, possibly up to 8-12%, if you account for traffic offloaded by Google Global Cache deployments, Arbor Networks’ Craig Labovitz claims.

So far, Google’s revenue seems to be keeping up with its traffic; we wonder which one will grow faster?

More About: Google, internet, record, traffic

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October 10 2010

Google Is Testing Cars That Drive Themselves

Google announced today that it has developed cars that drive themselves automatically in traffic, and that it has been testing them on the streets of California for months. It might seem like an unusual project for Google, but it could actually have big benefits.

We’re not just talking about cars running Google Android. This is the stuff of science fiction. The only accident that has occurred so far: One of the cars was rear-ended by a driver at a stop light. Human error!

The vehicles have been tested on 140,000 miles of California road, from Silicon Valley to Santa Monica. Each car is manned during the tests. One person sits in the driver’s seat, ready to take control of the vehicle instantly by grabbing the wheel or touch the brake should something go wrong with the system. The person in the passenger’s seat is an engineer who monitors the software operations on a computer.

Google hired engineers who previously participated in competitions and races involving automated cars — important turning points in the development of the technology, which has been coming into its own since around 2005 according to The New York Times.

If your first concern is one of safety, Google would argue that you’re going about it all wrong. Safety is one of the the project’s purposes. Google believes that the technology could nearly half the number of automobile-related deaths because computers are supposedly better at driving than humans in the right circumstances.

There are other hypothetical pluses, too. The vehicles’ instant reaction time and 360-degree awareness would allow them to drive closer together on the highway than humans can, reducing traffic congestion. They could be more careful when operating the gas, reducing fuel consumption.

But the biggest benefit for Google would be the hour or so of daily commute time the car owner would save. Instead of driving, he or she could either be productive or entertained in the vehicle, doing work on a wireless Internet connection or watching television. Google doesn’t say it explicitly, but TechCrunch was quick to note that this time could be spent using Google products and absorbing Google-run advertising.

The most optimistic projections put this technology at least eight years away from market, though. Legal hassles are among the myriad problems; all of the current traffic laws assume that a human driver is present in the vehicle.

Do you think this technology will eventually be deployed, or is it just a pipe dream for Sergei and Larry? Let us know in the comments.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, shaunl

Reviews: Google, Internet, iStockphoto

More About: automated cars, automobiles, cars, driving, Google, google cars, r&d, research, robot cars, tech, traffic

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