It appears that when Microsoft is not hatching hostile takeovers, it is working overtime to help you avoid traffic jams. The software giant today unveiled Clearflow, a new feature on its Live Search Maps service that predicts traffic congestion, allowing drivers to avoid possible holdups on the road.

With this, Microsoft seems to be trying to compete with Google, which also offers maps with projected traffic delays. But unlike Google's and other websites' traffic services, Clearflow will alter driving directions based on traffic not just on the usually metered major freeways, but on adjoining connector ramps and streets as well. At present the service is only available for 72 US cities and can be accessed via Microsoft's Maps Live portal.