Google Assistant just got smart enough to track the New York City subway

Image Credit: Google (Image credit: Google)

Google Assistant and Google Pay are making navigating New York City a little easier this month thanks to new subway and bus integrations with the city's Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA).

Starting today, millions of NYC residents and tourists can ask Google Assistant when the next subway and bus is coming. We tried it out and have some thoughts below.

And, starting May 31, Google notes that the MTA will launch its contactless payment system, OMNY (short for One Metro New York), at certain bus and metro stations. This will let users skip the time-consuming MetroCard kiosk by swiping their device instead.

Google Maps will play a part, too, letting you know which accept stations accept Google Pay in addition to offering the usual real-time tracking of trains and buses.

We tested it out already

We just asked our Google Home speaker, "Okay, Google, when is the next 7 train coming." It told us the wait time for the next two trains in each direction.

That's infinitely more helpful when you're getting ready in the morning or running out the door for work, which should make a long New York City commute a little easier.

While this helpful Google Assistant assist launched today, we have to wait until May 31 to test out the contactless Google Pay portion of today's announcement.

Even when it does launch, it won't immediately cover the whole MTA network, and it's really designed for one-off pay-per-ride commuters. Select subway stations and  Staten Island buses will get the contactless receivers first in a pilot program.

The initial subway stations on the list are on the 4-5-6 lines between Grand Central and Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center. We plan to be first in line to test it out anyway.

Global expansion and feature expansion

New York City is joining a list of over 30 cities getting similar features, including London, Singapore, and Moscow. Not all those cities are outside the US, as New York City will be joining Chicago (the first 5G city in the US) and other locales.

All of this goes a little further toward cementing Google's position as an all-in-one solution for getting around. Beyond driving, walking, and cycling directions, Google has also included details on ride sharing services and is even working on a feature to locate Lime electric bikes and scooters

Being able to use Google Assistant know when trains are coming, and then to pay with Google Pay, just further rounds out the package the search giant has on offer.

Mark Knapp

Over the last several years, Mark has been tasked as a writer, an editor, and a manager, interacting with published content from all angles. He is intimately familiar with the editorial process from the inception of an article idea, through the iterative process, past publishing, and down the road into performance analysis.