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Google Maps can now show New Yorkers how busy individual subway cars are so they can avoid crowds of people in the pandemic

Business Insider logo Business Insider 7/21/2021 kduffy@insider.com (Kate Duffy)
a person wearing a hat talking on a cell phone: Google Maps is trialling a new feature which tells you which carriages are the busiest. AlenaPaulus/Getty Images © AlenaPaulus/Getty Images Google Maps is trialling a new feature which tells you which carriages are the busiest. AlenaPaulus/Getty Images
  • Google Maps is trialling a new feature which tells users which transit cars are the busiest.
  • The feature is currently only available in New York and Sydney, Google said in a product update.
  • It comes as Google expands its live crowd prediction feature to more than 100 countries.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Google Maps can show users in New York and Sydney how busy individual transit carriages are before they step onboard a train or subway.

Google on Wednesday announced in a product update that it's trialling a new feature which allows users to see live crowd data on each transit car so they can sit in a less crowded space.

The tech giant said more cities will eventually have access to this feature, which is powered by agencies such as Long Island Rail Road and Transport for New South Wales.

Users can check how crowded each transit carriage is on Google Maps if they see the word "Live" above a picture indicating which area of the train or subway is the least busy. If the transit car in the image is blue and numbered, there'll be more seats available, according to Google.

graphical user interface, text, application: Google Maps' live crowdedness at the transit car level in Sydney and New York Google © Google Google Maps' live crowdedness at the transit car level in Sydney and New York Google

The new feature comes as Google announced it's expanding the live crowdedness predictions to more than 10,000 transit agencies in over 100 countries.

This gives users real-time predictions on how many seats are free on a train, bus, or subway. On the app, users can see a description of whether the line is "busier than usual" or "not too busy."

Google first launched the crowdedness predictions in 2019 and decided to bulk up the feature in June 2020 as social distancing in the coronavirus pandemic became an issue.

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