Google has introduced a few Maps features that could help you ease back into the world, now that COVID-19 vaccines are available. One of the most useful changes to Maps is the expansion of transit crowdedness predictions to over 10,000 cities in 100 countries.
Companies are expecting their staff to get back to the office in the near future, and crowdedness prediction can let you know if the train or bus line you're waiting for has a lot of open seats, or if it's already crowded. That way, you can decide whether to hop on or wait for the next one in hopes that it isn't as jam-packed. Maps can make predictions by combining AI tech with contributions from people using Google Maps, along with historical location trends.
If you're in New York and Sydney, you can even see a train's level of crowdedness down to transit car level in real time. Maps will mark the least crowded cars, so you can line up for one of them, thanks to data from transport agencies in the areas. It's still a pilot at the moment, but Google says the feature will be available in more cities soon.
In addition, the tech giant has launched a new Timeline Insights tab for the Maps app. So long as you're on Android and you have Location History switched on, you'll be able to view "monthly trends about how you’re navigating the world." For instance, that's where you can see how much time you spend at different places, such as shops or airports, and the distance and time for each mode of transportation you've taken. The tech giant says it developed the feature after users told the company that they want "to be more intentional about how they spend their time" after living through the pandemic.
Finally, Trips in the Timeline tab is now available to everyone on Android, so you can relive the vacations you've had in the past. In case your favorite travel destination still isn't welcoming tourists, you can go to the section and virtually visit hotels, restaurants and other places you've previously enjoyed.