updated 02:30 pm EDT, Thu March 29, 2012
Google Maps now shows real-world destination times
Google Maps on Thursday both got a key feature back and added a new layer of security. After losing traffic-based estimates for some time, Maps can once again indicate the likely actual travel time based on the most recent estimates of route congestion. The gesture can show when an alternate route, mass transit, or a taxi might be faster.
Simultaneously, Google has implemented a unique trick to help it properly identify addresses. As noted by Blackhatworld forum posters, Google is now using reCAPTCHAs as the result of its attempt to identify street numbers with Street View. Normal CAPTCHA challenges, where users are asked to type out what they see as a security measure, are now being joined by street numbers unconnected to a specific location.
The company normally extracts this information to improve Maps and Street View, Google said, and is testing them as part of reCAPTCHAs to improve its ability to fight the spam and automated bots CAPTCHAs were meant to thwart.