Google Maps' Live Transit UpdateEnlarge Photo
The only thing more annoying than putting your car in the shop is waiting to catch the bus the next day. It's such a common frustration, it made up Everywoman Sandra Bullock's entire backstory in Speed.
The worst part is that while some transit systems offer updates to commuters, indicating when the next train or trolley is due to arrive, bus systems haven't been so kind. Now, for a lucky few, Google Maps is coming to the rescue with something called "Live Transit Updates".
Live Transit Updates does two nifty things:
1. It updates you on the status of buses along your route.
2. It provides info on service disruptions so you can choose alternate means of travel.
As great as that sounds, there are a couple of limitations. At the moment, Live Transit Updates is only available in six cities: Boston, Portland, San Diego, San Francisco, Madrid (Spain), and Turin (Italy). And while Live Transit Updates can be found on both the desktop and mobile versions of Google Maps, the mobile version is Android-only.
We expect Live Transit Updates to roll out gradually, as Google makes inroads with city governments in other areas. However, because Live Transit Updates stands to improve the quality of life for urban residents without potential invasions of privacy, Google may be able to deploy it swifter than other, more controversial services like Street View.
If you're a commuter (or momentarily carless) in one of Google's six trial cities, feel free to let us know your thoughts about the service. And wherever you live, you can check out this video overview of Live Transit Updates to see how it works on desktops and smartphones: