Google Inc. is inviting users to check out a test version of Transit Trip Planner, which provides routes and scheduling information for public transportation systems.
The new service, launched late Wednesday without any publicity, can be viewed and tested at: http://www.google.com/transit.
For the beta, Google is offering a route planning service for only the Portland, Oregon, metro area, but it plans to expand to cities through out the U.S. and around the world, the company said.
The Google Transit Trip Planner provides directions for public transportation from a starting location to a destination. In addition to showing a road map of the route, the service provides schedules and costs.
The transit service is similar to Google Local, which offers users a mapping and local search service to find a business or a location in a city. Both services offer a road map or aerial view of the area, and offer directions.
The transit planner is currently a Google Labs product. Google has decided not to integrate the new product into Google Local until it has done further development and testing, the company said on its Web site. Google is seeking feedback from users on how they use public transportation data.
Several people responding to the new service on Google’s Web site have asked for more cities to be added as quickly as possible.
By John Blau – IDG News Service (D¿sseldorf Bureau)