Google Maps Just Got A Big Commuter-Friendly Update

Image: Supplied

Google Maps has just introduced three big changes to the service aimed specifically at commuters - including a new feature exclusive to Sydneysiders! Here's what you need to know.

Google Maps has announced a range of improvements for people using public transport via the Commute Tab. The new features are designed to enable you to plan ahead, prepare for disruptions and er, listen to some bangin' tunes on the bus.

Users will be able to see a visual representation of their bus or train on the map in real time - just like with Uber. In Sydney, the app will also inform you how full the next bus or train is, so you’ll know whether or not you’ll get a seat.

In addition, Google has added support for 'mixed-mode' commutes (driving to a train station, for example) and inbuilt music integration for Spotify, Apple Music and Google Play. This means you can listen to music from inside the app - especially handy if you're using the free versions which require the app to stay open.

Here's a breakdown of the new features from the Google blog:

What Is Commute Tab?

Google Maps now features a commute tab that provides one-tap access to live traffic and transit information tailored to your commute. We’ll tell you if your commute is going to be a normal one or if you’ll need to budget extra time due to things like an accident or heavy traffic. In the case of a delay, we’ll tell you about alternative routes to help you get to work faster. On Android, you’ll also receive notifications about delays and disruptions on your route as they happen, so you can know about an incident before you get caught up in the delay.

Mixed-Mode Commute Support

There’s a new feature for people whose commutes involve both driving and public transit. You can see helpful information about when to leave, and for each leg of your trip: you’ll know if there’s traffic on your drive, when the next train departs, and how long it’ll take to walk from the train station to the office. We do the work for you and automatically factor this into your ETA so you can anticipate exactly when you’ll get to work.

Delay alerts

Sprinting to the subway station only to find that your train is delayed is our least favorite way to start the day. Now, transit riders in 80 regions worldwide will be able to see exactly where their bus or train is in real time on the map. This will help you plan your day more efficiently—you’ll know if you can spend an extra few minutes grabbing coffee, or if you really do need to make a run for it to catch your bus. And in Sydney, we’ve partnered with Transport New South Wales to show how full you next bus or train is - so you’ll know whether or not you’ll get a seat. This feature will be coming to more cities around the globe soon.

In-App Music Support

If you have to sit in traffic, you may as well do it while listening to good music. We're making Spotify, Apple Music, and Google Play Music available within Google Maps so that you can control your tunes and podcasts right from Google Maps navigation. With Spotify on Android you can also choose your favorite content by browsing through songs, albums, podcasts, and playlists with the new, easy to use navigation. Say goodbye to toggling between apps, and rock out knowing that you can keep your eyes where they should be—on the road.

Google Maps' new commute features are now available on Android and iOS devices. You can access them by updating the app from the Play Store or App Store.

[Via Google]


    I find the In-App Music Support odd, considering there's Android Auto specifically for this purpose.
    I'm all for it, it's just a weird choice to me

    Last week I was on a bus into Sydney CBD and noted that Google Maps was on a street several blocks from the actual the bus route. I wouldn't have looked at the app except that it was dark and I needed to get out at an unfamiliar location on the route.

      Given that you were in the CBD, It's more than likely your GPS signal was poor rather than the app being at fault.

      My GPS always plays up when i drive through Melbourne CBD.

        Nothing to do with signal. The projected route by Google Maps was wrong. My actual location was tracked fine.

          Ah okay :)

          I get the problem sometimes where my dot suddenly goes in the middle of a building causing constant route recalculations.

    What does this do that the TripView app doesn't already do? Aside from the music thing which I think is superfluous.

      Mixed mode commute support would be welcome. My commute consist of driving, train and walking.

      Free ....

        ... and multiplatform. I can plan my trip on my desktop and pick it up on my phone. Integration with my calendar also means that new destinations are already available to Maps.

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