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…in March of last year, Google Maps became much more useful to drivers, because in addition to offering directions, they also started to offer real-time views of how congested the roads were. If a road is colored green, it means it’s moving along, but a yellow road suggests some traffic and a red road means even more congestion.
Google realized that as more and more people continued to switch to smartphones, they had a miniature army of traffic monitors that they could make use of. Thus, the traffic flow that you see on your map is a highly accurate real-time display of the number of Android phones that are currently trying to make that same trek.