Google has rolled out Google Transit out of the Labs and into Google Maps as an fully integrated feature. What’s the big deal? Not much unless you live in one of these cities:
Not a very complete list but more will follow one would think.
Using Google Transit means that when you look up directions for areas where they have transit coverage (on Google Maps) you’ll now have the option of seeing how to get there using public transportation and even the cost differential which is a must have for companies during these ‘we are green’ times.
With input from several transit agencies, Google created an open, easy to use format for representing transit data, formally known as the Google Transit Feed Specification (GTFS). Despite the name, GTFS doesn’t just pertain to Google — GTFS was released under the Attribution/Share Alike Creative Commons license (consider what this effort would have looked like coming out of MSFT….*shudder*) so that others can come up with innovative things to do with data in the GTFS format. Two major agencies (Portland Tri-Met and BART) have already made their data available in GTFS format.
There is a solid player in this market already called Hopstop.com.
The cities included so far are: NYC, Boston, Chicago, Long Island, Metro North Area (presumably NYC area), New Jersey, SFO, and Wash, DC.
Hopstop allows you to get directions via mobile SMS but also to your PDA or via voice to your hand held. Slick!
With HopStop you can:
– Send directions by e-mail or text message to a cell phone directly from the website
– Plan a trip with multiple destinations using their Itinerary service.
– Get directions or the locations of nearby subway and bus stops remotely on your cell phone or PDA with the HopStop Mobile service.
Free to register but your browser must accept cookies (big shocker).
Living in the big city (or travelling to one) just got a lot easier.