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Google, NYC transform public transit info online

Navigating the New York region's myriad and Byzantine transit systems "just got less complicated," Gov. David Pateron crowed at an event announcing the launch of Google Transit NYC, The Times reports.

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Navigating the New York region's myriad and Byzantine transit systems "just got less complicated," Gov. David Pateron crowed at an event announcing the launch of Google Transit NYC, The Times reports.

With not only the governor but also Deputy Mayor Ed Skyler and representatives of the city's Metropolitan Transit Authority, the Port Authority and New Jersey Transit in attendance at Grand Central Station, the event was proof positive of Google's new-found importance in government circles, reporter Sewell Chan pointed out.

The real stars of the show were Sergey and Larry, though, whose attendance also shows that Google is serious about government.

It just gives me great personal pleasure to be able to help even in a tiny way this fantastic public transportation system,” Sergey Brin, one of Google’s founders, said at the news conference. The company’s other founder, Larry Page, said he even hoped the tool would “help congestion, help the economy over all.”

The tool appears to be a breakthrough in terms of user-friendliness. Unlike government-developed online tools, users don't have to intentionally seek out transit information. On Google Maps, you could be searching for, say, a bagel shop, and be one click away from information on how to get there on public transit, complete with info on how long the trip will take. The "fundamental goal" of Google Transit, Chris Harrelson writes on the official blog is to "make public transit information as easy to find as any other geographic information."

We can only achieve this goal if we work closely with transit agencies around the globe to bring accurate and comprehensive transit information to everyone. Our role in this partnership is to bring all of this information together and make it easy to search and browse in interfaces that are simple, consistent and readily available.