Constant checking of your location is annoying when using public transportation in a foreign city. This will become a thing of the past with the new Google Maps for Android which now features something called Transit Navigation (currently in beta). Basically, this taps Google’s vast mapping database, your phone’s GPS location and real-time public transportation data to figure out where exactly along the route you currently are. The system then alerts you on time when it’s time to hop off the buss, Google explains in a blog post:
Using your location along the route, Transit Navigation will alert you when its time to get off at your destination or to make a transfer. This is particularly helpful if you’re in a city where you don’t speak the language and can’t read the route maps or understand the announcements.
The best bit? It runs in background so you’ll continue receiving progress reports as subtle Android notifications while checking your email or playing a game. It will even vibrate the device when it’s time to get off at next stop. Other improvements include the navigation interface with big icons and built-in picture viewer for Places pages. The new Google Maps 5.7 for Android with Transit Navigation (BETA) can be downloaded now from Android Market on smartphones that run at least Android 2.1. Transit Navigation arrives with support four hundred major cities around the world and Google will probably add more towns in the future.