There was an era, not all that long ago, where Google Maps was just an upstart group fighting down big names like MapQuest. Now Google is the dominant player, largely thanks to their integration of Google Maps with Android smartphones. You can get GPS navigation, turn-by-turn directions, and even specialized routes for plans involving walking, biking, and busing. Taking the bus, of course, is part of Google’s public transit partnerships, and it aggregates data from scheduled departure times – making it less than reliable for tracking buses that are behind schedule.
Google has now resolved that by adding a set of notifications to the latest version of Google Maps for Mobile and the current live version of the Google Maps desktop version. Here are the ways you can see the improved data:
- When you’re in Google Maps for Mobile, locate a transit station (such as a bus stop) on your map and tap on it. A recent improvement added upcoming departures from the station. The current update has added a “live departure” section that gives current, up-to-the-moment times.
- When using Google Maps for Mobile to get public transit navigation, an alert will be displayed on any routes that have been altered because of a delayed bus or train line. You can see the exact details and get live updates, service alerts, and other data by clicking on the alert icon.
- Users can also access the live data listed above when using the desktop version of Google Maps (which was recently made accessible in mobile browsers).
The notifications require that you use either the desktop version or the most recent Google Maps version. Live updates are currently available in six countries (Boston and Portland, OR; San Diego and San Francisco, California; Madrid, Spain; and Turin, Italy) but Google is actively seeking to expand their public transit partnerships.