Google has updated its Maps app with local transit data for bus and metro information in Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai, New Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai and Pune, in addition to railway schedules for over 12,000 trains. The information is available to users through the Google Transit feature in Google Maps on Android, iOS and desktop.
To use the feature, users can simply request directions on Google Maps like before. In the results, users need to select the ‘Public Transit’ option which then displays which metros, trains and buses are available on the given route. On a route we tested, the platform displayed which buses we could take after walking to the nearest bus stop, how long the whole trip would take, along with alternate options for taking different routes/buses. Users can also change the time of their trip, to plan future trips.
Interestingly, this feature also works across cities, thanks to the addition of railway schedules for various national trains. So for example, when we selected a route from our current location in Pune to a friend’s house in Mumbai, the platform provided details starting from walking to the bus stop, the bus to take to the station, the train to catch for Mumbai, and on arrival, how to get to the specific address using local trains and buses.
Another app, Ridlr, provides similar features. It provides real time bus, metro and rapid metro schedules for cities including Delhi, Bangalore, Chandigarh, Jaipur, Pune, Mumbai, Chennai and Ahmedabad. However, Google has a distinct advantage here, Ridlr does not work inter-city and is available only on Android. However, Ridlr does include rickshaws and taxis when displaying routes within the city, a feature Maps does not yet have.
Recent Google developments:
– Earlier this month, Google started integrating tweets into its search results on smartphones. The tweets in the mobile search results are grouped into a carousel which users can swipe through to display more tweets. Google had reportedly signed a deal with Twitter in February this year, which would give Google access to Twitter’s tweets. They also apparently had a similar deal four years ago, which ended in 2011.
– In April, Google began displaying info on Google Now cards from third party apps like RunKeeper, Jawbone, Feedly and 67 other apps. After Google started adding third party Android apps to Google Now cards in January, it has expanded the number of apps, which now totals to 110. It is unclear how much personal information is being accessed by Google through the new feature, since Google Now can access and analyse users’ third party info too.
Image source: Google