In a series of tweets, Jane Manchun Wong has demonstrated a number of new features that will be coming to Google Maps soon. The first of these is one that allows you to share your route with Uber drivers in order to get more accurate fees. The other is a feature entitled “Connections to Public Transit” to help users better plan their routes.
This comes shortly after Google Maps introduced other new feature to the app over recent weeks. These included the ability to be notified about crowds on public transport.
In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, this was an important new feature. Additionally, Google Maps finally began supporting YouTube Music.
New UI features for Google Maps
Included in this "connections to public transit" function is a "firs-mile" option as reported by 9to5. The idea here is for users to pick what transport they would use for the first mile of their journey.
Then what mode they would like to use for the remainder. This is designed mainly for commuters who perhaps live a small distance away from a bus or train station.
The new feature would allow them to use Google Maps to calculate the best routes which encompass their need to travel by two different methods. The different modes of transport offered as part of this feature include car, bike, rickshaw, motorcycle, or a ride-sharing service such as Uber or Lyft.
On top of this feature, Google is working on ways to integrate ride-sharing apps into its functionality. The tweet shows just Uber as an example. However, presumably, other services will be included as the updates are rolled out.
The idea behind this new feature is to allow users to share their route on their ride-sharing app. This, in turn, would provide immediate and accurate fare from within Google Maps itself.
This is in itself not a major change to the app. However, this is one one that could potentially be very useful to the user.
As part of this new update, Google will also be working on tighter integration with “Bay Wheels,” a bike-sharing service in San Francisco. Clearly the aim here is to try and best link up with as many ride-sharing apps as possible in order to best provide for all users.
Overall, these updates are in no way ground-breaking. However, they do appear to be sensible, intuitive and serve a useful purpose to the users.
Being able to use the "first-mile" function will be of great use to commuters. Additionally, integration with ride-sharing apps will be of benefit to both companies and the user as well.