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Apple Using Location Data To Prep Traffic Service

Apple Tracking

The Huffington Post   First Posted: 04/27/11 11:10 AM ET Updated: 06/27/11 06:12 AM ET

The location information Apple has been collecting could soon have a more useful purpose than just creeping you out: better traffic information for users.

In its press release explaining Apple's reasons for using iPhones to store and collect large amounts of data regarding users' locations (Apple denied it is tracking users, saying it is merely tracking cell towers), the company went on to say that it has a new project in the works.

"Apple is now collecting anonymous traffic data to build a crowd-sourced traffic database with the goal of providing iPhone users an improved traffic service in the next couple of years," said the release.

If this traffic service is anything like the one Google already implemented two years ago, it might use data from users' phones to show how fast they're moving, and where they are, to create pictures of traffic conditions at different times.

Even back then, Google headed off privacy concerns by saying "for us to really make it work, we had to solve problems of scale (because you can't get useful traffic results until you have a LOT of devices reporting their speeds) and privacy (because we don't want anybody to be able to analyze Google's traffic data to see the movement of a particular phone, even when that phone is completely anonymous)."

Read more about Apple's response to the outrage over iPhone location tracking here and here.

Would this service be useful? Do you hope to see Apple's traffic feature--or could you care less? Tell us below.

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