IN AN ATTEMPT to boost the popularity of its maps software after cuts from Apple, Google has added more detailed public transit information to its Android mobile ecosystem.
The update, which is available from the Google Play store, allows users to find public transportation information such as local bus and train schedules for 500 cities around the world, including London, New York, Sydney and Tokyo.
In a test carried out on Samsung's new Galaxy Note 10.1 today, we found that the updated app allows you to filter which public transportation routes you want to see, enabling you to view either trains or bus routes separately rather than all at once.
Other improvements include departure information at bus, train and underground stations, and the distance to nearby stations in order to make it easier for people to plan routes in unfamiliar places.
If you tap on a station name in the Android app, the departure times, lines serving the station and distance to nearby stations pop up on a separate page and the user can use this information to construct a planned journey.
Google software engineer Christopher Van Der Westhuizen hinted in a post on the firm's blog that this was developed particularly for big cities because it is "helpful in areas where there is a tight concentration of several types of public transit".
Also included in the update is a new 'My Places' functionality, allowing you to access saved maps and planned routes from previous excursions. A 'Location History' feature also allows you to browse through the locations you go to on a daily basis, if left turned on in the app's options.
The update gives Google's Maps an added edge over what Apple's IOS 6 mobile OS has planned in its own navigation system, as according to widespread reports it won't have the public transport features that Google has now rolled out. µ