Update: Includes response from Google.
Google announced on Tuesday the ability to view live highway traffic data via cell phones.
The new product, Google Maps for Mobile, is currently being offered to mobile phone users in 30 cities. Google Maps for Mobile is a beta product, according to the product page.
Google said the new product will allow cell phone users to choose a destination within Google Maps and select “show traffic,” according to Reuters. Highway traffic information is highlighted in three colors: red for congested, yellow or orange for slowdowns, and green for light traffic.
According to product manager Gummi Hafsteinsson, the live traffic overlays were included after user feedback. Google Maps for Mobile does not include a GPS component and is not intended to replace GPS devices.
Google Maps for Mobile offers comprehensive information on San Francisco, Los Angeles, Houston, Chicago, Minneapolis, Phoenix, Seattle, Washington, D.C., and New York City, and partial information for several other cities.
Google is also beginning to show up more often in car-related news. The USPTO (U.S. Patent and Trademark Office) published 12 Google patents earlier this month related to geocoding technology. And Google is known to be working with automaker Volkswagen on an in-car 3-D navigation system.
Google CEO Eric Schmidt said during the company’s earnings call last week to expect more mobile and international products from the company this year.
Mobile devices outnumber personal computers worldwide, and the mobile market is growing at a faster pace, according to research firm IDC. Today there are roughly 2.2 billion cell phone users in the world, and the number is expected to grow to 3 billion in the next few years.