Google is adding payments features to Maps to help users who need to move around town during the pandemic. The app now lets you handle your parking fees in more than 400 US cities and transport fares at upwards of 80 transit agencies around the world. With more people turning to their smartphones amid lockdowns for everyday essentials including shopping and food delivery, Google claims this is another way to stay safe by avoiding direct contact with public surfaces. Of course, the updates will also come in handy when restrictions begin to lift.
Both features are powered by Google Pay and are as straightforward as you'd expect. Starting today, you can pay your parking meter from driving navigation in Maps thanks to an integration with on-demand mobile parking providers Parkmobile and Passport. Just tap the "Pay for Parking" button that appears as you approach your destination, enter your meter number and the amount of time you need to park and select "Pay."
If you're worried about running over time, you can extend your parking session through some extra taps. The feature is available on Android, with iOS support in the works, in a host of major cities including Boston, Cincinnati, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, and Washington DC.
On the transport end, you can use Google Pay to pay for your fare when you get transit directions from Maps. You can also purchase a Clipper card for travel in the San Francisco Bay Area. The transit update is rolling out in more cities globally on Android in the coming weeks.
Google Maps' latest upgrades follow a slew of features borne in the COVID-19 era, including alerts of coronavirus-related travel restrictions and advisories and seven-day averages for new virus cases.