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July 31, 2008

Google Maps mobile takes public transport

INTERNATIONAL – You might expect us to blindly champion Nokia Maps 2.0 over Google Maps, but here on Conversations we’re all about getting fired up about any apps out there that help push the boundaries of how we behave with our mobiles and ultimately how they can improve our lives. Plus, of course, healthy rivalry is one of the key ingredients that fuels innovation, especially location-based services, where we’re soon set to become overwhelmed with applications, given the ongoing meteoric rise of GPS and high-speed connections facilitating this rapid evolution.

So with this in mind, I thought it only right to highlight the new version of Google Maps, which has just become available for download.

The latest incarnation of Google Maps for mobile has introduced a Transit element, enabling you to get directions and plan your route using public transport. It’s early days with only a little over 50 cities supporting the service (with more on the way), however those that do let you check bus and train timetables, fare prices and get step-by-step instructions. Google has teamed up with transit agencies around the world to help them get hold of the information needed to supply this service, although currently it’s mostly US focussed.

The search has also been treated to a speed boost, meaning you’re able to find location-based info and local services faster than before. Plus, when you search for a business, if it has user rating info it shows up as in star rating form beneath the listing, making it easier to determine which service is the best in your area.

Here’s a video Google has posted showing it action…

Have you had a chance to use the new version of Google Maps for mobile? What are your thoughts on mobile navigation and services such as this and Nokia Maps 2.0? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Photo from fredcamino