Okay, I have a confession to make. I'm not a real New Yorker. I'm from the land of southern hospitality and steaks bigger than your newborn: Texas. I don't know how to hail a taxi yet, and I still smile at strangers on the street. I'm slowly learning how to fit in, but one thing I still haven't mastered is the New York City subway system. Every day, I struggle to determine where to find my train and how to stand on it without falling over. Fortunately, Google Maps appears to be making some of this easier by displaying subway station layouts on its mobile app.
According to images released by a Reddit user displaying the new visuals for New York's Penn Station, Google Maps has inserted subway station layouts of many major Manhattan stations into the app. Upon further investigation, I found that I was able to view the detailed layouts on my smartphone as well.
This exciting update appears to be new, but Google Maps users from Japan and Washington D.C. have reported that this feature has been available to them for awhile. Japanese subway station layouts can even be viewed on desktops, unlike those in NYC and D.C.
At some stations, this new feature outlines platforms and entrances. It is not currently available for all stations, and not everyone is able to view the feature on their Google Maps app. Google has not made an announcement about this update and appears to still be working on it. Hopefully, the appearance of this feature indicates that Google plans to roll out layouts with more detail and at more stations. This — coupled with the recent addition of on-site parking notifications — indicates that Google is working to ease travel for commuters of all kinds.
We have reached out to Google for comment and will update this post upon receiving a response.
In response to a request for comment, a Google representative has shared with WonderHowTo that users can expect this feature to stick around.
We've shown indoor maps of transit stations on Google Maps for many years. We're currently experimenting with different ways of showing underground transit stations in Japan and NYC and will determine whether that experience will roll out more broadly in the future.
Screenshots by Sarah Tseggay/Gadget Hacks