Google Maps has been impressively responsive to the needs of its users during the coronavirus pandemic. Back in June, the app was updated to offer Information on nearby testing centers and local mandates for masks, and then in September it went a step further, providing Information on regional case data to help people plan their trips.
The app has now been updated to provide better insights on the best time to travel, expanding information on how crowded public transport is likely to be on public transport at any given time to 10,000 agencies in 100 countries.
“With this information you can decide whether you want to board or wait for another train,” wrote Eric Tholome, director of product at Google Maps. blog post. “Because pandemic or not, nobody likes standing in a packed subway car.”
Predictions are made through artificial intelligence, historical trends, and people’s self-reporting engagement via the app, and Google says privacy is all-important with “world-class anonymity technology.”
Data quality varies by region, but in New York and Sydney, the data is impressively fine, with Google operating a scheme where you can see exactly which car has the lowest It is crowded, giving you enough space to practice social distancing. Google says more cities are coming soon.
While all of this is good for peace of mind, many insights can be gained through good old-fashioned common sense: rush hour is busy, while early afternoon is quiet.
This is supported by Google’s examples in a blog post: “Nationally, you’re most likely to get a seat at 9 a.m., while cars can only park between 7-8 a.m. Your chances of grabbing a seat increase.” , at 3 pm the lines are much less crowded, as they are between 4-5 pm “Nothing unexpected there.
Nevertheless, with almost all legal COVID restrictions now lifted in the UK, this is another weapon in the arsenal of those who need to travel but are eager to do so, and it should be welcomed.