Google Inc. on Thursday launched in beta a trip-planning service for people who prefer to take pubic transit rather than drive.
The Google Transit Trip Planner, which is initially available only for the Portland, Ore, metro area, provides directions for public transportation from a starting location to a destination. Besides showing a road map of the route, the service provides transportation schedules and other information to help plot a step-by-step itinerary. In addition, the service compares the cost of the trip with the cost of driving.
Use of the service is similar to Google Local, a mapping and local search service that lets users find businesses and other locations in a city, and get driving directions. Locations and directions are shown over a roadmap or an aerial view of the area. The new transit service offers the same views.
Google Transit, which is currently a Google Labs product, has not been integrated with Google Local, because the company said it needed time to develop the product further. Google, based in Mountain View, Calif., did not have any definite plans for which cities would be added or when.
Engineers in San Francisco, New York, and Zurich who use public transportation often started the project, the company said.