Google Transit Coming Soon…..?

So Google Transit will soon be mapping the entire New York City Transit system. Here is an article about it courtesy of Bloomberg:

Aug. 24 (Bloomberg) — Google Inc., owner of the most popular Internet search engine, provides online transit guides for more than a dozen U.S. cities including Dallas and San Diego. Now it may take on the biggest.

New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority and New Jersey Transit, which together carry more than 9 million people a day, are working with the company to give users one place to go for maps, schedules and trip planners. The agencies serve the five New York City boroughs and suburbs in New Jersey, Connecticut, Westchester County and Long Island.

“We are always looking for ways to incorporate technology in what we do,” Jim Redeker, assistant executive director of New Jersey Transit, said in a telephone interview from Newark. Google has “good experience at making this work.”

Google, based in Mountain View, California, introduced its online guides in 2005. They are designed to show transit users how to navigate systems, and to boost Google’s revenue from selling ads to restaurants, hotels and other local businesses.

U.S. companies spent about $922 million last year to place ads alongside local searches and maps, according to Kelsey Group Inc., a market research firm in Princeton, New Jersey. That will almost triple to $2.61 billion by 2011, the researcher says.

Thinking Local

Google probably got about $500 million in sales last year from local ads, or about 8 percent of its U.S. revenue of $6 billion, said Greg Sterling, an analyst at Sterling Market Intelligence in San Francisco.

Google doesn’t disclose its local ad revenue, and Christoph Oehler, product manager for maps and transit, declined to say whether the company is negotiating with the New York and New Jersey agencies.

New Jersey Transit plans to share maps and schedules with Google as part of a pilot program to post more information about the system on the Web, Redeker said. MTA spokesman Jeremy Soffin confirmed the New York agency is also working with Google Transit. He declined to give specifics.

The company’s shares rose $2.81 to $515 at 4 p.m. New York time in Nasdaq Stock Market trading. Google’s stock has climbed 12 percent this year.

The metropolitan New York market would be the biggest and most complicated Google has tried to crack with its online guide. The New York MTA had 8.27 million daily riders as of Dec. 31 and runs the city’s subway and buses and the Long Island and Metro- North railroads, the busiest U.S. commuter lines. The system has 468 subway stations, 35 fewer than in all other U.S. cities combined.

New Jersey Transit, the largest statewide public transportation system in the U.S., carries about 857,000 passengers daily on buses, commuter trains and light-rail lines.

Door to Door

With the Google Transit online trip planner, a user enters a start and end address or landmark and gets automated directions, including schedules and transfer points. Bus ridership in Duluth, Minnesota, increased 12 percent since the Google system was added to its Web site last year, said Tom Elwell, marketing director for the local transit authority.

“Customers don’t care what agency is running what, they just want to know how to get from one door to the next,” said Allison de Cerreño, director of New York University’s Rudin Center for Transportation Policy & Management.

Some agencies, including New York’s MTA and New Jersey Transit, have trip planners on their own Web sites, as does Inc., a New York company started in 2004 that offers planners for cities including New York, Boston and Chicago.

Travelers may be more inclined to get directions from Google because they already use its other mapping services, rather than trying to navigate local transit Web sites.

“Most people know Google,” said Cerreño, who walked more than 20 blocks to her job when she came to New York two decades ago because she was daunted by the subway. “That’s actually a very powerful way to get the information in one place, in a way that most people are familiar with.”

My question is what can’t Google do?…………….

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