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Tip: Google Maps Traffic Widgets Can Save You Some Serious Time

This could be old news, but for those of you with long commutes and that are not familiar with Google Maps and its Traffic widget, you’ll want to pay attention.  With this widget, you can set up a variety of locations that will in real-time, update to show you how long it may take you to get there depending on your current location.  So as you can see, I’ve set up a few including a BBQ spot across town.  According to Google Maps and its live traffic reporting, it should take me around 17 minutes to get there in some not so friendly (red) traffic.  However, if I want to head down to Deschutes Brewery which is only 10-12 blocks away, it should take me just a couple of minutes.  

To set these up, all you have to do is open up a home screen, long press, and choose Widgets>Traffic.  After that you can name it in the first box, and then jump to the second to search for a particular location or plug in a specific address.  Simple right?

Cheers 0mie!

  • Craig Boudreaux

    No way to determine the route used, so completely impractical for me.

    How am I to know if it’s using the highway, or if it sees a wreck on the highway and decides to use an alternate route? There’s no indication.

  • Kelly Jones

    Perfect post. Here’s a tool that lets youbuild any type of web app widget in minutes, without coding http://blog.caspio.com/web_apps/widgetize-your-app-for-fame-and fortune/

  • OmId

    yeah i agree if you had to go from point A to point B and lets say you had 3 different routes that you could/would use. you should be able to select a route and find out how long it will take compared to the next dependent on time of day, traffic etc

  • I find the time estimates to be grossly optimistic. Less than 4 hours to get from Plymouth to Liverpool? Please!…

  • Guys, I found a fix for the issue of the widget not refreshing/displaying an error message when searching for directions: When I entered in the address (123 Any Street, Anytown, NC 12345) instead of the location name (Home) the widget appeared and worked perfectly. Select or enter just the address without any other info, such as a business name, and it’ll refresh and track the travel time.

  • i am a delivery guy for saladworks, used the shortcut “nav and direction” before but never this, very cool thanks DL 😀

  • Bprice48

    Interesting…. I setup a widget for my home… it says 5 minutes.  Then I went into maps and got directions.  It said 8 minutes. Wonder why there is a difference???

    • Bprice48

      neither showed traffic and were done within 30-45 seconds so traffic had not changed

  • Brkshr

    Thanks!  Didn’t know this was there

  • Brkshr

    Thanks!  Didn’t know this was there

  • digsoreos

    When you click on the widget it first refreshes the time to the destination. Click on it again and it launches Google Maps. However, it only shows you where you are on the map. It doesn’t show the destination. Because it doesn’t show the destination, there’s no way to easily get to Google Navigation mode in case you wanted directions to the destination based on your current location.

  • Tested this. The GPS will be on the entire time your phone is awake and maybe while it’s sleeping. What would be better are shortcuts that you could activate pre-plotted routes showing traffic and eta.

    • PyroHoltz

      Not if you turn off GPS, then it will default to using rough location based on cell towers.

    • LJ

      Actually it goes to sleep after awhile, until you press the widget again.

  • Don’t rape my battery, bro.

    Awesome feature but I noticed GPS firing up a lot. That ha got to mean this thing will rape your battery.

  • CyberPete

    K – I have one important question.  Why *would* you go the the BBQ spot rather than Deschutes Brewery?

  • Anonymous

    Just don’t kill your battery on your phone 🙂

  • givemeaphone

    The instruction above are wrong, and that’s why i could not find this widget initially – you have to select “Maps” first from the widget list, and then traffic. There is no “Traffic” widget under the main list of widgets.

    • Mav4Life

      I don’t have to select ‘Maps’ first on my phone…

      • Szerkie444

        I don’t have maps or traffic on my choose widget list.

        Running Android 2.3.3 and Launcher Pro.

        Any ideas?


    • Gingerbread its Long press -> Android widgets -> Traffic, so I do beg to differ sir.

  • Rachaelbrehm

    I only get “error encountered while getting directions”   🙁  

  • Anonymous


  • Anonymous

     This would be awesome if googles real time traffic didn’t suck, as I’m sitting in stop and go traffic with google maps showing all green again….

    •  If you don’t live in a large city, you can’t expect it to.

      • Anonymous

        Boston is pretty big.  

  • Anonymous

    For anyone who can’t find it in their widget list, try uninstalling and reinstalling Google Maps.

    It wasn’t showing up in my widget list on my Droid w/ CM7 (no Maps widgets were), but it was there after a reinstall.  As were the other two Maps widgets (Latitude and Rate Places).

  • Yoda Ky

    Not in my widget list :/

  • Guest

    How much of a battery drain is this widget? I’d think if its constantly polling GPS for your location, its going to use a lot of battery.

    • Oneshortsleeve

      My locations and GPS go into a sleep mode and is activated when clicked.