The world is slowly opening up. You may want to find yourself using public transportation for the first time in ages and trying to figure out how to get around. Some useful new Google Maps features can help all of us navigate through this time, both literally and figuratively.
For people who find themselves back on a bus or train, Google expands its predictions for transit massage. The company now works with more than 10,000 transit agencies in over 100 countries to give you real-time predictions about how many seats there are on the train. Maps will tell you if there are open seats or none at all to help you get a better idea of when to hop on a ride. In New York and Sydney, Google is even trying the ability to see live audience data down to each transit car. You know you have the option if you see a colored “Live” indicator, along with whether the line you are taking is “busier than usual” or “not too busy.” For trains, you even see numbers that indicate which train cars are least populated.
While on that train, you may be wondering what it is you are doing with your life. There’s a new feature to handle that too, called Timeline Insights. Google Maps collects what you’ve done with your life and where you’ve gone, provided you turn on location history. Maps will track how often you shop or eat out, and whether you drive, fly, walk or bike to get there. The feature is available in the Timeline tab, which is available behind your profile picture in the Google Maps app.
When a friend asks you for suggestions based on a trip you took somewhere in pre-pandemic life, you can scroll through the timeline and tap Trips to check where you ate and the monuments you passed. Turn on the option to select them all, then add them to their own list and export the itinerary to a friend. And if you later get sneaked out of it, you can scrub the data completely with Google automatic deletion controls.
Finally, while eating safely around the city this summer, Google encourages you to provide useful information. Once you have written a review, Maps will ask you more questions, such as price ranges and whether you ordered takeaway or delivery.
The new features are now being rolled out to Google Maps on both Android and iOS.