Those who use Google Maps as their primary tool for navigating the world's many public transit systems will benefit from more precise information today, as Google announces the integration of public transit schedules for over 1 million stops worldwide.
However, in what seems like an early-strike against the upcoming proprietary mapping application in Apple's iOS 6, the update is only available for devices running Google's Android operating system. Google said they eventually hope to release it for iOS devices, but did not give a definitive date.
The update nearly doubles the number of transit stops from the previous version, making this a behemoth in the worldwide navigation game. The update also includes directions inside some of the more popular transit hubs, malls and larger complexes, helping users figure out where they need to go for that connecting train or other destination.
The new update also has some sleek integrations of other Google products, pointing to the all-Google walled garden that is currently taking shape.
Users can peruse Google Offers, check out restaurants on Google+ Local, and generally access all related location-specific information in one place.
Google is obviously looking towards a future of not only being able to serve mobile ads according to user location, but also being able to push special offers directly to the front of the user experience.
Mobile mapping is an essential component to urban life, with an ease of access that facilitates journeys for many each day. The main problem with mobile mapping remains the lack of WiFi and cell signal in the deepest reaches of these transit systems. Thankfully, Seoul has long had subway signal and London recently tested tube-ready WiFi this summer, so connectivity problems will soon be a thing of the past in many of the world's biggest urban centers.
This latest release certainly heats things up as we head into the rumored launch of Apple's iOS 6 in September.