Google Maps has long had pretty excellent public transportation directions both on the web and in its mobile apps, and today the company is tweaking things to make them a bit more real-time — in a few specific locations, that is. According to the official Google blog, Maps has just added more than 25 new real-time data providers for public transit in six locations: Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco, the UK, the Netherlands, and Budapest. I just did a quick test in San Francisco using a Nexus 9, and the transit direction results did indeed alert me to a bus arriving a bit earlier than scheduled on my chosen route. It also lets you know when trains are departing from a particular station for your chosen route so you can plan accordingly and arrive on time.
For users who aren't in those select cities, you'll still see public transit options arranged in a new way — instead of just showing a list of options, Google clearly calls out a recommended route and then groups other options by similarities. For example, there was a "more by bus" grouping when I looked for directions. It's not a radical change, but it's a nice little bit of housekeeping. All of these changes appear to be live on Android, but the iOS app is unchanged as of now. We expect that'll change before long, however — Google's blog didn't say anything about this update being Android-only. With Apple Maps finally likely to include transit directions (albeit in only six cities), it makes sense for Google to keep on refining its product so it can stay in the lead.