• Google Maps directions will get even better on iPhone and Android soon, as Google is working on a new feature to improve the overall commuting experience for users who prefer public transit to driving.
  • Evidence in an unreleased version of Google Maps shows the app will let users customize the “first mile” of their trip by combining their primary public transit choice with a different way of transportation.
  • Google Maps will also integrate certain bike-sharing services and will provide accurate cost details for Uber and other ride-sharing options.

Google Maps usage may have dropped since the emergence of the novel coronavirus, but Google has been adding new features to the app to turn it into a more useful tool for navigating daily life. In recent months, Google released several COVID-19-specific features to help you navigate the pandemic, but the company has also been working on other brand new features for its popular mapping navigation. A new leak reveals some of the upcoming Google Maps additions, including one that will make it easier than ever to commute to work.

Commuting to work may be risky during the coronavirus pandemic, as it involves spending time in an enclosed space among other people, and you can never know who is infected. Hopefully, we’ll soon get to a place where public transportation will be safe for most people. And once that happens, you might have new commuting options waiting for you inside Google Maps.

The new features have not been rolled out to all users at this time, but Jane Wong posted screenshots on Twitter, via 9to5Google.

The most important one concerns that “first mile,” the short trip you need to take to the main public transit service you use to get to work.

Google wants to improve that experience by offering you quick ways to get there. You’ll be able to combine two transportation means for your commute under a new “Connections to Public Transit” features. As you can see in the image above, you’ll be able to pair public transportation with a secondary means of travel of your own choosing. More bike-sharing apps could be supported soon as well:

Google is also improving its ride-sharing experience in Maps by offering users more accurate ride fare details within Google Maps. The same feature might be applied to other ride-sharing services that can be summoned directly in Google Maps. As seen in the following images, you’ll need to give Google Maps permission to share details with the ride-sharing app.

Wong also found evidence showing that Google is working on a new Assistant feature for the iPhone version of Maps that will let it replace “Hey Siri” with “Ok, Google” during navigation:

Finally, Google is also working on a few cosmetic changes for its Google Maps interface. The search bar at the top of the app will get rounded corners, with the user’s profile picture placed within it, on the right side.

There’s no telling when these features will be rolled out, but they should be available both on Android and iPhone when they’re completed.

Chris Smith started writing about gadgets as a hobby, and before he knew it he was sharing his views on tech stuff with readers around the world. Whenever he's not writing about gadgets he miserably fails to stay away from them, although he desperately tries. But that's not necessarily a bad thing.