Google has introduced a few Maps features that could help you ease back into the world, now that COVID-19 vaccines are available. One of the most useful changes to Maps is the expansion of transit crowd forecasts in more than 10,000 cities in 100 countries.
Companies expect their staff to return to the office in the near future, and the crowd forecast can tell if the train or bus line you’re waiting for has a lot of open seats, or if it’s already crowded. That way, you can decide whether to skip it or wait for the next one hoping it’s not as packed. Maps can make predictions by combining AI technology with the contributions of people using Google Maps, with historical location trends.
If you’re in New York and Sydney, you can even see the level of a train’s crowd up to the level of a transit car in real time. The maps will mark the least crowded vehicles, so you can line up for one of them, thanks to data from transportation agencies in the areas. It’s still a pilot for the time being, but Google says the feature will be available in more cities soon.
In addition, the technology giant has launched a new Insights Timeline tab for the Maps app. Whenever you’re on Android and have Location History turned on, you’ll see “monthly trends on how to navigate the world”. For example, this is where you can see how much time you spend in different places, such as shops or airports, and the distance and time for each mode of transportation you take. The tech giant says it expanded the feature after users told society they want to “be more intentional about how they spend their time” after experiencing the pandemic.
Finally, Travel in the Timeline tab is now available for everyone on Android, so you can relive the holidays you’ve had in the past. In case your favorite travel destination does not always welcome tourists, you can go to the section and visit virtually hotels, restaurants and other places that you have already enjoyed.
All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, you can earn an affiliate commission.