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Google Maps for Wear OS adds public transit directions

2 months ago 55

At Mobile World Congress 2024, Google announced a handful of wearable and navigation-related updates, starting with public transit directions in Google Maps for Wear OS. 

When searching for a location in Google Maps on Wear OS, public transit will now appear alongside driving, cycling, and walking. After selecting the bus/train/ferry/etc. option, Google will show recommended routes with departure times. You can scroll through the steps and see where you’re getting off, as well as open a compass-guided map view. 

Google today is also re-highlighting how Wallet for Wear OS now supports “boarding passes, event tickets, gym memberships, loyalty cards, and more.”

Continuing on the navigation front is enhanced TalkBack screen reader support for Lens in Google Maps on Android. Google Lens AR search can visually direct you to nearby places like transit stations, restaurants, and ATMs. 

You can now point your phone’s camera at your surroundings and TalkBack will read the place’s information out loud — like its business hours, rating or directions on how to get there.

On the accessibility front, the Lookout Android app will let you listen to auto-generated AI descriptions of photos, including images found online and those messaged to you. This is rolling out globally in English. 

Google also reiterated that the Android Auto AI message summary capability is coming.

Finally at MWC, Google is continuing work to optimize its app for large screen devices with support for handwritten annotations in Docs. This is meant for marking up a document when providing feedback or reviews.

A new stylus icon at the end of the toolbar brings up a floating panel with a highlighter and pen tool. The latter lets you adjust the stroke width and color, while you can erase any annotations. This is ideal for devices that offer stylus support, but you can also use your finger.

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