Google takes the bus

Company debuts beta of transit trip planner, which tries to map out the most direct route for public-transportation users. Images: Google hops the next bus

Google has debuted a test version of a service that tries to map out the most direct route for public-transportation users.

Google's transit trip planner, launched Wednesday, is currently limited to Portland, Ore., but may eventually launch on a global scale, according to its Web site.

Although Google's transit trip planner is not integrated into its local-search feature , it provides people with information that could dovetail into its local-search efforts. Google and competitors, such as Yahoo and Microsoft's MSN, are jumping into local search and mining the lucrative local-advertising market .

The Google trip planner asks people to enter their preferred itinerary, such as location of departure and arrival, as well as dates and time of travel. The site then gleans all available information on public-transportation schedules to produce a trip planner.

The trip planner provides an estimated walking time to catch the nearest form of transportation on the desired route, which transit line to catch, as well as estimated traveling time. The trip planner also provides the estimated cost for using public transportation.

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    Dawn Kawamoto covered enterprise security and financial news relating to technology for CNET News.

     

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