For the most part, using Google Maps is a quick and pain-free experience – just type in your destination, look at how long it will take, and then start the navigation. There is one small hangup for people who don't drive, however, and that's because by default Google Maps will show you driving directions.
That's obviously great if you plan on driving to your destination, but if you're looking for another means of transportation then it forces users to manually select public transport, bike or walking directions on the menu bar.
Now, that's not really an issue if you switch between all methods of transport, but if you don't drive and only use Google Maps for public transport, cycling or walking, then this can become a little tiresome.
It's even more annoying if you're trying to figure out which method of transport is fastest, as you have to switch between them for more information.
Basically, it's not the most convenient or efficient way of getting directions.
Now it seems (opens in new tab) Google is testing a new feature that speeds up this entire process, making it easier for those who don't drive or like to compare different methods of transport.
In the future, Google Maps could get a new setting that allows users to choose their preferred modes of transportation. This is then used by Google Maps as the 'default' method when searching for directions.
If you select multiple methods of transport, then Google will automatically show you all of these methods when you put in a destination.
So, for example, if you mainly cycle and get public transport around your home city then you'd set these as your favourites. Whenever you then searched for a destination, Google would show you cycling and public transport directions first, then allow you to select other methods of transport such as driving or walking.
It is actually possible to select your default mode of transport in Google Maps right now, but it is currently buried in submenus and not exactly the most intuitive thing to do. This new feature might make it a bit easier.
This update was spotted in the latest Google Maps version 11.28 Beta on Android, but there's no official word on a public release at this time.