Google Maps now provides detailed insights into the activities of each railcar
Google Maps is easily the most popular navigation app in the world. Google is always rolling out new features to maintain that top spot. With the latest addition, Maps aims to make your commute on the train a little less stressful and protect you before returning to the office.
The new feature, which improves on Google’s existing crowd prediction, is rolling out to users on Android and iPhone worldwide starting today. So, what actually changes? Well, Google shows you predictions about how crowded a train is and how many seats are available. In some larger cities, such as New York and Sydney, Google is testing a more advanced version that shows how busy each carriage is, rather than the train as a whole.
Google has partnered with more than 1,000 different transportation companies in more than 100 countries and hopes the feature will provide more insight to commuters.
When the feature is rolled out, users will see a new “Live” indicator on the trip details page. The app also tells you whether the train you are about to take is “busier than usual” or “not too busy”. This feature works just like Google’s current crowd forecast for locations. As it stands, users can see a prediction of how busy a store or restaurant will be in Google Maps. By checking this, users can also see the current capacity, and whether it is busier than usual or not.
Google collects real-time data from passengers on the train, combined with ‘previous trends’
Don’t panic if you can’t see the new features on your handset right now. While the update is rolling out from today, however, it may take some time to reach users on some shores as the company tends to stagger these deployments.
To enable these predictions of crowds, Google Maps combines user contributions with past trends to predict the current state of the railcar. It’s like smart commuters who realize that the 9:00 train is always busier than the 9:12 train, so they have to take the later train, but on your phone.
Speaking of the update, Google explained in a blog post“As people return to public transport, safety remains paramount. That’s why we’re expanding public transport crowd forecasting… so you can decide whether to board or wait for another train. Because pandemic or not, nobody likes to be in a crowded metro.”
This isn’t the only new feature coming to Google Maps. The app is also set to improve the current timeline section by identifying how often you visit certain places and how you travel there. Reviews are also getting more detailed, asking users for additional information such as prices and what they actually bought.
While Google is certainly taking a COVID safety-conscious approach by using the new crowd forecasting feature for public transit, it will definitely be used post-pandemic. Because, as Google explained perfectly, no one likes to be on a crowded train.
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