This artist tricked Google Maps into reporting a traffic jam alert - using 99 mobile phones
An artist managed to trick Google Maps into reporting a major traffic jam in Berlin...with only a trolley full of phones.
Simon Weckert walked down main streets in Berlin, pulling behind him a red cart filled with 99 active smartphones as part of his art piece "Google Maps Hacks".
Weckert even walked along the street of the Google office in Berlin which, because of his prank, had barely any cars on it save for a few bikes and pedestrians.
He wrote: "Through this activity, it is possible to turn a green street red which has an impact in the physical world by navigating cars on another route to avoid being stuck in traffic."
The video shows Simon walking from different angles, and a real-time screenshot of Google Maps, where the streets turn from green to red including bridges over the River Spree.
How does it work?
Google Maps recognises the location of the 99 phones and interprets the data as 99 slow moving cars - signalling a traffic jam.
This means any driver using Google navigation would be diverted from the area and an alternative route given.
Why did he do it?
Google Maps was first launched in February 2005. For the 15th anniversary of this revolutionary software, Weckert wanted to show its vulnerability.
"Google’s map service has fundamentally changed our understanding of what a map is, how we interact with maps, their technological limitations, and how they look aesthetically," he wrote.
If you can't see the video, watch it here
Weckert sees this technology as not only influencing our navigation and understanding of the psychical world, but also our love life and even what we eat.
Tinder and other dating apps use the same geo-locating technology, as do Uber and food delivery apps.
Not the first time
This isn't Google's first brush with pranksters.
In 2015, pranksters used the then "map maker" feature to draw a giant android alien urinating on an Apple logo.