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Real-time transit updates in Google Maps

Google Maps today added real-time transit information — not just scheduling data — to its mobile and desktop offerings in two European and four U.S. cities: Madrid, Turin, Boston, San Diego, San Francisco and Portland, Ore.

The move cements the Rose City’s status as a favored testing ground for new Google products — the new Peoria, as we called it when the company started testing its Google Offers service there last week. Google says it’s working to roll out the real-time transit info to other cities in the future.

But the Seattle region already does have a strong set of real-time transit applications in the form of the OneBusAway project.

Interestingly, the University of Washington computer science grad student who has been heading that project, Brian Ferris, recently graduated and was slated to work in Zurich for Google. In going to Google, Ferris hoped he would be to help launch similar real-time transit services around the world, according to a Seattle Times profile last month.

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