Google Maps announced a major addition to a handy feature that lets you see how busy your train or bus will be when it arrives.
After the feature was launched in 200 cities in June 2019, the web giant is rolling it out this week at 10,000 transport companies in 100 countries. If available, the dates will be shown when you look up directions.
Squeezing into a crowded train or bus is never fun, especially since the pandemic started when social distancing became a thing. If you inquire beforehand whether your subway or bus line is particularly busy and you are not in a hurry, you can hold back and maybe run some outstanding errands or just relax.
“These predictions are made possible by our artificial intelligence technology, input from Google Maps users and historical location trends that predict future traffic line congestion around the world,” said Eric Tholomé of Google Maps in a post announcing the expansion. Add that for privacy reasons, the feature uses anonymization technology and various privacy techniques to ensure your data stays safe and private.
As part of an effort to make transit data even more useful to passengers, his team is currently testing the ability to display real-time information on overcrowding “down to the level of the transit car”. The tests for this particular function take place on Long Island Rail Road in New York and on public transport in Sydney, Australia with special software used to interpret data collected by weight sensors built into the suspension systems of cars become.
Other new features announced by Tholomé include a new Timeline Insights tab, initially only for Android (with location history enabled), which shows you monthly trends on how you spend your time on the go. The data shown is accessible via a new tab in your timeline (tap your profile photo, then your timeline). , flown, cycled or walked. “You can also see how much time you spend in different places – like shops, airports, and restaurants – and immediately drill down to see all the places you’ve been to,” Tholomé said.
Finally, a new trips feature on the Timeline tab lets you view data related to past vacations, such as when you were on vacation. For example, which hotels you stayed in during this epic trip to Tokyo or which restaurants you visited on your weekend getaway.
We would like to point out that if you are appalled by the extent to which Google can track your daily activities, please turn off the Disable Location History feature and location services on Android and iPhone here.