Google Maps (and related data) continues to be strategic for the company. On Android Google Maps & Navigation are one of the big differentiators (at least until Q4) between the Google OS and iOS.
Today Google announced several updates and upgrades for the public transit features on Maps (version 6.10). In addition, Google now reports that it has “schedules for more than one million public transit stops worldwide.”
With the new release of Maps for Android the company said it was making transit features easier to use:
- “You can select a specific mode of public transportation (train, bus, tram or subway) to display on the mobile map, hiding the other modes.”
- “We’ve also updated the layout of station pages to be more useful. Open it by tapping on the name of the station on your mobile map.”
There are additional changes and updates:
- Regional borders are now highlighted
- Google also says that “Under My Places you’ll notice we’ve added new tabs, which will help you access all your information from a single place; from your saved maps for use offline to your starred places and Custom Maps created on your desktop.”
Apple’s new mapping product (iOS6) won’t include public transit data at launch. Users and Apple will have to rely on third party developers and existing apps to provide that information. That could in the long run result in some positive innovation for consumers. We’ll see.
When Google got into aggregating public transit data several years ago the company was criticized for wanting to hoard the information. At the time public transit information was not easily and universally accessible. However Google has now enabled the sharing of public transit data through the creation of a standard digital format: General Transit Feed Specification.
Google also recently added public transit data to its Maps API for third party developers.