Google Maps is by far the most popular navigation app in the world. Google is constantly introducing new features to stay at the top. With the latest addition, Maps tries to make your train journey a little less stressful and protect you before you head back to the office.
The new function, which improves the existing crowd prediction from Google, will be introduced worldwide for users on Android and iPhone starting today. So what is actually changing? Well, Google shows you predictions of how full a train is and how many seats are available. In some bigger cities like 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.
By working with over 1,000 different transportation companies in over 100 countries, Google hopes the feature will give commuters more insight.
When the feature is rolled out, users will see a new “live” display 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 the same as Google’s current location mass prediction. As it stands, Google Maps allows users to see a forecast of how full a store or restaurant will be. When this is checked, users can also see the current capacity and see if the place is congested or not.
Don’t panic if you can’t see the new features on your handset right now. However, although the update is rolling out starting today, it may take a while to reach users on some shores as the company has typically staggered these rollouts.
To support these mass predictions, Google Maps combines user input with previous trends to predict the current state in the train car. It’s like savvy commuters who find out that the 9:00 am train is always busier than the 9:12 am train, so they should take the later train – but on your phone.
Regarding the update, Google stated in a blog post, “As people return to public transportation, safety remains paramount. That’s why we’re expanding the transport overcrowding predictions … so you can decide whether to board or wait for another train. Whether it’s a pandemic or not, nobody likes standing in an overcrowded subway car. “
This isn’t the only new feature in Google Maps. The app will also improve your current timeline area by recognizing how often you visit certain locations and how you travel to them. The reviews also get more detailed, asking users for additional information like prices and what they actually bought.
While Google is certainly taking a COVID safety conscious approach by introducing the new public transport crowd prediction feature, it will certainly be used after the pandemic. Because, as Google perfectly explained, nobody likes to be on a busy train.