Google Maps no longer has to guess how crowded your transit line is

Daniel Cooper
·Senior Editor
·1-min read

These days, finding out when a public space or subway car is crowded isn’t just for convenience, it could potentially save lives. That’s why Google is talking up its Maps update which now offers real-time crowding information for your local transit line. In addition, the company says that it’s now providing timing information for 20 million venues worldwide to help you avoid big crowds.

Google has been helping users work out how busy bus, train or subway lines are for over a year, but has served up predictions rather than real-time data. Today’s update changes that by effectively crowdsourcing movements via supported handsets (when users have opted into anonymized Google Location History sharing).

Since plenty of us are spending the next few months indoors, Google is also offering real-time takeout tracking. If you’ve ordered with the Google Maps app, and you’re based in the US, Canada, Germany, Australia, Brazil or India, you can follow your meal from kitchen to your door. The platform will now also offer expected wait times and estimates of delivery fees, all from inside Google Maps.

At the same time, Google is finally rolling out Assistant Driving Mode for Maps, a feature originally trialled way back at I/O 2019. When you’re driving, your phone turns into a basic display that lets you see where you’re going, respond to messages and play music. All you need to do is tell Google, with your voice, to open Assistant Settings and activate Driving Mode.