Real-time public transit updates are the holy grail for straphangers. And Google’s making this sparsely-available feature more ubiquitous—announcing today that it’s adding four cities and two new countries to its real-time list.
In a blog post today, the company said its Maps app will now include real-time transit updates for Seattle, San Francisco, Chicago, Budapest, the Netherlands, and the UK—as well as updating the way it arranges possible routes across the app. 25 new data partners will provide actual transit data to Google, which in turn will update your trip with info like delays, early arrivals, and cancellations in your bus or train schedule. Based on what the Maps app told me about getting around Chicago today, the feature has the potential to be pretty useful. For example, a theoretical bus trip to the Museum of Science and Industry told me that the bus was running on a 4 minute delay—and then let me dig in to see exactly when it would be arriving at different spots along the route.
Other transit apps do similar things, but Google’s strength might be that it’s everywhere. It says it now works with more than 125 partners to cull real-time data. It’s not ubiquitous, but it’s getting there. [Google]
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