Google Maps v9.53 brings back transit notifications

Google Maps v9.53

An update to Google Maps v9.53 began rolling out over the weekend and this one appears to be focused on keeping people in the know on their commutes. This version brings back a toggle to control notifications about delays and interruptions at mass transit stations, and this time it might be here to stay. A teardown also shows we’ll soon have traffic notifications for the commute between home and work and that more modes of travel will be respected besides just driving and mass transit.

Google Maps 9.53

Users of Google Maps may recall a toggle was added to v9.49 a couple of months ago that gave users a choice about receiving notifications regarding mass transit stations. This was based on work that first appeared in a teardown last year in June, but there had been some changes in the meantime. Perhaps this happened earlier than intended and was was removed shortly afterward. It’s back with v9.53 and could be here to stay.

On the surface, nothing special has changed from the last time the toggle was added, and there have been similar settings even before that, but some new text seen through a teardown does suggest this implementation is a little more likely to be final. Along with the basic notification title and summary, there are also a few lines that go with the notifications.

Where things get a little more detailed is a new prompt that allows users to block notifications for stations that they don’t need. In the previous teardown, individual lines – say for busses and subways – could be ignored, but this focuses on the stations, which often have their own distinct issues.

The most telling reason to think this feature is sticking around this time is the text from a pair of new notifications that ask users if they’ve visited a station and if the transit notifications are helpful to the user. The first is obviously there to gauge accuracy, but the second clearly shows the Maps team is seeking to judge the efficacy of these notifications. In the end, this may determine if they are successful or have to be adjusted.

There are already some mass transit notifications in both Google Maps and the Google Now stream (or whatever it’s being called these days), but this adds another nuance and might save some people from getting stuck somewhere because a station is effectively out of order.

I don’t live near any mass transit and triggering these notifications generally isn’t possible if you’re not jumping on a bus or train fairly often, so I’m not sure if these notifications are already operational with this update or if they’re still in limbo until further notice. If anybody has started receiving them, let us know in the comments below.

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