Google Australia has announced that live road traffic information is now available for Perth and Adelaide. Google Maps will now show traffic flow updated every few minutes in four colour-coded categories from slow to fast.
The Traffic button on the map will turn on the feature to show the speed of traffic relative to the speed limit. Green indicates traffic is moving freely, yellow is medium congestion, red is heavy congestion and red and black shows stop-and-start traffic. The traffic feature is already available in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
Offline maps for Android phones
In related news, Google has just also announced the release of Google Maps 5.0 for Android. The new version brings two new features to the mapping platform — 3D mapping and offline map storage.
The 3D feature uses vector graphics to display the map and provides several new dynamic features — tilting, rotating, smooth zooming to move map and labels continuously and compass mode to orient yourself on the map.
The offline map storage will cache large portions of local maps on the device so that the maps are useful without an internet connection. Features such as live traffic and detailed map information are active when the internet connection is available.
Google Maps Navigation, the GPS navigation tool that is currently in Beta has also been updated with offline rerouting if the internet connection fails.
The new 3D and offline features will only work in Android 2.0+. Google claims more than 100 million users worldwide for Google Maps for Android.
As we've previously noted, people with Android phones have a distinct advantage when it comes to using Google Maps, with automatic turn-by-turn directions also available from Google on the phone platform (and at the time of writing, not the iPhone).