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article imageGoogle Maps update lets you check your commute in real-time

By James Walker     Feb 6, 2017 in Technology
Google is rolling out a new update to its Maps app for Android that adds real-time commute information letting you check when the next bus is. There's also new curated lists of useful everyday destinations around you, such as ATMs and gas stations.
Google announced the new features in a blog post today. Although it's a comparatively minor release, the update adds capabilities that could prove very useful. Most notably, the new commute information adds value to the app when you already know where you're going. It lets you check in advance if there's any disturbances on your regular routes.
If you already have your home and work addresses saved in the app, Maps' new Transit tab will show you recommendations on the best bus or train to get to your destination. You'll be able to check when the next one arrives and how long it'll be until you're at journey's end.
It's also possible to select a station from a selection of nearby transit hubs. Real-time schedules will be displayed, letting you see immediately if a train or bus is running late or has a diversion along its route. This could give you a few extra minutes at home in the morning, or warn you if you're about to miss your bus.
Google Maps real-time information
Google Maps real-time information
Driving mode has also gained some new features. The new Driving tab, next to the Transit options, displays real-time estimated arrival times for your home and work. It takes into account planned delays on the road, such as maintenance or route closures, as well as the local traffic conditions to work out when you should be leaving for your destination.
The third and final tab added to Maps today is Places. It displays curated lists of interesting restaurants in your vicinity, filtered by dining style. You can scroll horizontally through options like "best dinners" and "cheap eats."
Places also lets you search for useful everyday locations in your local area. With a single tap, you can find the closest grocery store, post office, ATM or gas station. It cuts down the time needed to find basic amenities when you're in a new area. Each place card includes images of its surroundings and a basic description of the neighbourhood.
Google Maps real-time information
Google Maps real-time information
All three of the new tabs are accessed via a new swipe gesture. Swiping up from the bottom of your home screen will open Maps' real-time views, letting you open Places, Driving and Transit. From there, it's just a couple of taps to find when the next bus is due, get driving directions or locate the nearest pharmacy.
"When you're on the go, there's no time for apps that can't keep up," said Google. "Whether you need to get to work or you're just looking for a quick bite around you, Google Maps gives you the personalized information about your world to make decisions and get around with confidence."
The features are rolling out now to Google Maps users on Android devices. There's currently no indication of when real-time updates will come to the iOS version of the app. Google is likely to publish the update shortly after the Android release is complete.
More about Google, Google maps, Android, Navigation, Apps
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