Google Maps Expands Transit Info

The new version of Google Maps for Android includes public transport information for almost 500 cities around the world, the company announced last week in a blog post.

MORE MAPS: Awesome interactive map shows global Internet usage stats

"Google Maps has public transportation schedules for more than one million transit stops worldwide, in nearly 500 cities including New York, London, Tokyo and Sydney," writes software engineer Christopher Van Der Westhuizen.

What's more, Google provided several new features intended to make Maps more useful as a guide to public transit, including an updated transit lines layer that lets users differentiate between several different types of transportation.

The station display has been upgraded as well, providing additional information about nearby stations and other transit routes. Google also introduced few minor improvements, including more in-depth location history information and regional border highlighting.

Long the only game in town for online maps, Google has experienced more competition of late. The open-source OpenStreetMap project offers an option to location-dependent app developers who don't want to pay for Google Maps API access, and Apple recently announced that it would stop using the system and substitute its own in-house mapping software when iOS 6 is released this fall. (See also "Gmail, Google Maps, and Google Search: 19 Cool Tips.")

Despite an exhortation to update to the latest version in the Play Store, the new software was not available as of this writing, and the last update is listed as June 27. That version introduced offline capabilities, allowing Android users to store frequently-used area maps on their mobile devices.

Email Jon Gold at jgold@nww.com and follow him on Twitter at @NWWJonGold.

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