Should you happen to be stuck in Carmageddon this weekend, you won't be able to curse at Google Maps. Not even if, when you looked a couple of weeks ago, Google's driving time estimate was "100 hours."
For it seems that Google, in an act of self-flagellation rarely seen in the tech world, has decided to remove the "driving time in traffic" estimates from its esteemed maps.
Search Engine Roundtable seems to have been the first to drive into this radical change to such a helpful feature.
It's never all that healthy to take Google Maps' driving time estimates too seriously. But, on a totally unfamiliar route, it did offer a little help in deciding whether one had enough gas, and where to stop in order to buy more BBQ potato chips.
However, a response from Google's Daniel Mabasa in the Google Maps help section offered an insight into the company's headlong pursuit of perfection.
"We have decided that our information systems behind this feature were not as good as they could be. Therefore, we have taken this offline and are currently working to come up with a better, more accurate solution. We are always working to bring you the best Google Maps experience with updates like these!"
Some might fear that without these helpful estimates, there might be an increase in road rage, as people who have become as dependent on technology as gorillas are on bananas suddenly get rear-ended by the vicissitudes of real life.
Those who regularly use Google Maps know that the creators are not without imagination or humor. For example, if you try to find driving directions from, say, Larkspur, Calif., to Honolulu, you are told, halfway through, to "Kayak across the Pacific Ocean" for a mere 2,756 miles.
So one can only hope that Google's finest and most imaginative minds are being pulled away from airy-fairy pursuits such as social networking in order to bring order back to our roads by creating new, finer, traffic estimates.