The idea here is to give you real-time updates while you are on your transit journey. These updates will appear in the Google Maps app and, maybe most importantly, on your Android lock screen.
Update: this is now live and available for both iOS and Android.
To get started, you search for your transit directions in Google Maps as usual. So far, so good. What’s new here is that you’ll soon be able to tap a “start” button at the bottom the screen with the details about your transit journey and then get live updates as you walk or ride on your local buses and trains.
Our understanding is that Google Maps will even remind you to get off your bus or train when you get close to your stop. That’s definitely useful when you’re traveling somewhere new (or sleepy).
The notifications on the lock screen are also new. One nifty feature here is that they are interactive, so you can scroll right through your journey’s steps.
While Google Maps always did a good job of giving you detailed transit directions (though it’s often nowhere as good and useful as CityMapper’s more detailed directions), the process generally involved keeping track of your own progress along the route. With this update, transit notifications become a bit more like using Maps for walking, biking and driving.
We expect this update to go live soon — and Google may already be testing it outside of its trusted tester community. If you’re already seeing it in Google Maps yourself, let us know in the comments.