In case you had any doubt that the mini computer you keep near your body at all times knows exactly what you're up to, where you are and who you're with, Google Maps is here to prove it. Sure, it's easy to feel anonymous across the sprawl of New York City, but Google is on top of New Yorkers' whereabouts.
A new feature on Google Maps not only plans out your subway route and timing, but let's you know the current conditions on board. The "What's it's like" details will show how crowded the train in—ranging from not crowded to at capacity—plus the level of security on board, accessibility features and the temperature, ranging from freezing cold to too hot. So far, no feature exists to let you know if Showtime performers are on board, so that will stay a surprise. For now.
For Long Island Railroad passengers, the updated Google Maps app will also show you which cars are the least crowded, so you can strategically plan where you want to board your train if you don't want to share a seat. We're still waiting for this feature to make it to the subway, because how great would it be to know where to stand so you don't have to stand up for your entire community?
Even if you're a transit expert who refuses to look up directions to and from any given place, you can't deny that this is helpful information. In the social distancing era, it's definitely good to know how much air you'll be sharing with your transit neighbors.
This new Google Maps update is currently only available in New York and Sydney, Australia, so don't expect these special features (yet) if you dare to visit another city.