Google Maps can already tell you which train to take or map out an optimal driving route. Now, it’s simplifying travel even more by letting users pay for parking or public transportation right from their phones.
As of Wednesday, users can connect their Google (GOOG) Maps accounts with their Google Pay wallets and make transportation-related payments without ever leaving the app. By bypassing parking meters and train ticket machines, people can save time and also avoid touching public surfaces — a plus during the pandemic.
The new features are just the latest update to Google Maps, which has aimed to become more than just a place to find directions. In December, for example, Google added the ability for verified businesses to message customers directly through the app, as more companies rely on digital interactions to drive sales. The app also added a feature in September that shows how prevalent coronavirus is in a given area.
“From booking an online yoga class to ordering takeout from your favorite restaurant —Google Maps is a powerful sidekick that lets you accomplish tasks all throughout your day,” the company said in a Wednesday blog post.
For parking, the company has partnered with two tech providers — Passport and ParkMobile — that will link Google Maps to street parking meters. When people are using Google Maps to navigate to a destination, the app will automatically prompt them to “pay for parking.” They can then enter their meter number, the amount of time they want to park for and hit “pay.”
The new pay for parking feature will also let users extend the time on their parking meter remotely from Google maps application.
For users who rely on public transportation, Google says it’s expanding the ability to pay for transit fares through the app: It will now connect to more than 80 transit agencies around the world. As users plan their trip, Google Maps will show them how to pay for their trip and let them do it in advance using a credit or debit card saved in their Google Pay wallet. That way, when they arrive at the station, they can be on their way without having to pull out their wallet or switch to another app.
“Once you’ve purchased your fare, all you need to do is tap your phone on the reader or show your digital ticket to breeze on board,” Google said.
While many people are still spending a lot of time at home because of the pandemic, these features will likely come in handy as more people get vaccinated and the reopening continues.
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