Friday, February 03, 2006

RideFinder: Where is my ride?

You never get disappointed while looking at what is up at Google Labs. Today I noticed an entry that seems to be there for a while called RideFinder. It has the familiar Google Maps interface and the little colored ballons.

If you zoom over an area over let's say San Francisco, you will notice that the colored ballons belong to cabs (or limousines and shuttles) and an "Update Vehicle Location" button shows at the bottom of the image. And it works! It actually shows where a cab is in real-time. You can then call the company and catch a ride.

According the FAQ, the data might be up to 5 minutes old which in this case might be a bit too much. Google RideFinder uses data provided by companies like Mobile Knowledge, Vettro, TranWare and GT3 to build the maps. From the FAQ: "Ride Finder is a beta product which is only available in a few metro areas in the United States".

Check here for some reverse-engineering on this service.

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