Google is increasing the number of cities where Maps provides information on public transport congestion. The number of cities covered increases by around 200 today, to “more than 10,000 transit agencies in 100 countries,” the company said. In addition to the clutter, Google says Maps is also updated to offer more information on past trips.
The originally launched Google Maps congestion information pre-pandemic in 2019, but over the past year, social distancing has made it more important than ever. Attendance information is generated from a mix of historical location data, as well as self-reports by Maps users on individual trains. Google says it anonymizes historical location data used.
In addition to extending the overcrowding forecasts to more cities, Google is also making them more granular in New York and Sydney. In these cities, users will see how crowded individual train cars are instead of just general congestion on the transit line. The feature works using data provided by the transport agencies themselves, and Google has announced plans to expand the capacity to more cities soon.
Google is also adding some new features to the Timeline section of Maps on Android, accessible by tapping on your profile picture and then selecting “Your Timeline.” A new “Insights” tab displays trends in the time and distance you’ve spent using different modes of transportation and the places you’ve visited. There is also a “Trips” tab which groups together the places visited, with the possibility of exporting them in the form of a list if you wish to transmit them as travel recommendations.
Alternatively, if you don’t like the reminder of how much data Google Maps is able to collect about you over time, you can turn it off (and lose access to new timeline features) by deactivate location history on your phone.
Finally, Google is also offering more review options for restaurants in the United States, with new prompts to share information about meal prices and whether you have take out and deliveries. The new review options are available on iOS and Android, and Google says they will eventually be available to businesses beyond restaurants.