Google is updating Maps with a handful of new features today focused on expanding transit crowdedness predictions and an “Insights” addition to the powerful Timeline history.

To help public transit riders “navigate new normals,” Google is expanding crowdedness predictions to over 10,000 transit agencies in 100 countries. This is to help you plan out a trip in regards to whether a train or bus has “lots of open seats, hit full capacity, or [is] anywhere in between.”

With this information you can decide whether you want to hop on board or wait for another train. Because pandemic or not, no one likes standing in a jam-packed subway car. 

You’ll see this information directly in the directions timeline view with anyone able to tap and contribute a live status: Not crowded, Not too crowded, Crowded, Very crowded, and At capacity.

These predictions leverage crowdsourced data from other Google Maps users and historical location trends. In New York (Long Island Rail Road) and Sydney (Transport for New South Wales), Google is testing live crowdedness information “down to the transit car level.” 

Meanwhile, the Google Maps Timeline view accessible after tapping your profile avatar on mobile gets two notable additions. There is a new Timeline Insights tab that shows “monthly trends about how you’re navigating the world.” This includes transport mode breakdowns and highlights, as well as how far and long you’ve traveled via car, bicycle, or walking. The Google Maps Timeline Insights tab is widely rolled out.

You can also see how much time you’re spending at different places — like shops, airports and restaurants — and instantly drill down to see all the places you visited. 

The promised “Trips” tab — first shown in November — is now available on Android to provide a replacement for the deprecated “Google Trips” experience. It will help you “relive parts of past vacations” and find past hotels and restaurants. There’s also the ability to export places as a list and share.

Lastly, today, leaving a review will see Google prompt to detail other useful information, including “price ranges or if you got takeout or delivery.”

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Abner Li

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