Google Maps Adding Commute Features

As someone who recently moved close to Chicago, I’ve begun learning the ways of public transportation so that whenever I go up to the City, or want to get around once I’m there, I can do so efficiently. There are a few apps intended help with this, the Ventra app and Transit Stop app respectively. The Ventra app, however, is a dumpster fire and the Transit Stop doesn’t have Amtrak information, just Bus and L Train info…neither is a perfect solution. Previously with Google Maps you could use the Public Transit option but it didn’t have real time tracking. Starting this week, however, iOS and Android Google Maps users will have a pretty clever solution to these problems and others.

We're rolling out new features on Google Maps to help you take control of your daily commute— enabling you to plan ahead, prepare for the inevitable disruptions, and possibly avoid them altogether. Oh, and we’ll also help you have a bit of fun along the way. 👍

Google Maps will now have a ‘Commute Tab’ with live traffic and transit information specific to your commute letting you know if your trip will take you extra time, even providing alternate routes to help get you to work on time. Though Android users will enjoy live update notifications, while us iOS folks won’t.

My favorite update rolling out in the new Google Maps is the ‘Mixed-Mode Commutes’ feature. This allows you to customize your commute to include driving, walking, and using public transit. Using this mode will give you traffic info for the driving leg, departure times for the next train, and give you a time estimate for any walking portions. In addition to this, you will be able to see in real-time on the map where your bus or train is, so you’ll know if can finish reading this article or if you need to head to your pickup location.

Another feature, and one that surprises me, is that Google Maps will now integrate with Spotify, Google Play, and Apple Music. This means that from within Google Maps navigation you can control your music and podcast playback, never having to leave the app. This is really, really cool and I cannot believe they included Apple Music here. It’s a smart move on their part as iOS users make up a huge portion of Google Maps users but historically Google and Apple haven’t played nice with each other where competing services are concerned.

All in all, this looks to be a very useful and exciting update for Google Maps. You should see the update sometime this week.

Apps, GoogleCam Brennan