An artist in Germany used 99 smartphones and a wagon to fool Google.
Do you ever feel like Google Maps may be slightly off? That perhaps the ubiquitous service may have made a mistake in calculating the traffic for your morning commute?
If so, then perhaps you have encountered German artist Simon Weckert. In an attempt to draw attention to how dependent we as a society have become on technology, Weckert put 99 smartphones in a red wagon and pulled it around the block of a typically lightly congested intersection in Berlin.
Because Google Maps works by pinging a signal off smart phones that are using the service, this created the illusion of a massive traffic jam, and Google Maps suggesting alternative routes to avoid the faux traffic.
Watch Weckert's YouTube video here:
Despite being “hacked,” Google has taken this bit of performance art with some humor, stating that experiments like Weckert's help Google Maps become better.
"We’ve launched the ability to distinguish between cars and motorcycles in several countries including India, Indonesia, and Egypt,” a Google spokesperson reported to Business Insider, "though we haven’t quite cracked traveling by wagon.”
In an email to Business Insider, Weckert noted, “There is no such thing as neutral data. Data is always collected for a specific purpose by a combination of people, technology, money, commerce, and government.”
While this is not necessarily dangerous, Weckert has succeeded in pointing out how much of our daily lives we put in the hands of huge corporations and technology.