I am not sure exactly when this happened, but Google Maps has dropped one of the more useful features. The feature is, estimating how much time it would take to drive somewhere with traffic, either live traffic or predictive traffic based on day/time.
Now, the feature is gone.
A Google Maps Help thread has a Googler explaining they removed it because it wasn't accurate enough. Daniel from Google explained:
We have decided that our information systems behind this feature were not as good as they could be. Therefore, we have taken this offline and are currently working to come up with a better, more accurate solution. We are always working to bring you the best Google Maps experience with updates like these!
Personally, I found Google's traffic data more accurate than any other live traffic information. Google croudsourced phones for real time traffic data and I thought it worked well.
Google launched traffic estimates back in 2007.
The thing is, the traffic estimates still do work, just not on Google Maps. You can use your iPhone and get the details. I am not sure if it still works on Android as well.
Hope they don't remove it from the iPhone because I use this feature a lot.
Forum discussion at Google Maps Help.
Update: Google sent me a statement on September 27th saying:
Google is committed to providing our users with the richest, most up-to-date maps possible, including live traffic updates. The traffic data on Google Maps comes from a variety of sources, including government departments of transportation, private data providers, and users of Google Maps for mobile who contribute anonymous speed information through our traffic crowdsourcing feature. (For more information, check out our Crowdsourcing blog post.).