Via Yahoo's Zawodny: Word of Google Transit Trip Planner. This new Google Labs beta (not to be confused with Google Ride Finder, that's one we haven't heard about in a while) allows people in Portland, Oregon (ONLY) (sorry, Portland, Maine) to "plan trips [with Google Maps] using public transportation." Sort of a Google mashup of its own. Unfortunately, when I tried several examples, they all came back saying, "Sorry, we were unable to calculate transit directions between xxx and xxx." Well, that's a Google beta for you. (-;
Are more cities coming soon? The FAQ puts it this way, "Sorry, but we don't yet have any definite plans for which cities will be added and when." However, public transportation officials from other cities are invited to contact Google.
Although I was unable to get it to work I can see from the FAQ that the Trip Planner also provides you with an estimate of how much it would cost to drive instead of using public transit.
Are transportation services the next big area for big G? Let's see, Google Ride Finder in March, links to air travel fare and timetable info last month, the lonog time availability of airline flight tracking, and now this. Could Google use its computing power to build reservation and other needed info systems?
Btw, if you're looking to check out another cool transportation tool, only available for select cities including San Francisco, check out NextBus.com. It's even available for Portland's streetcar. It offers real time info as to when the next bus, train, streetcar, or other form of transportation will be arriving at a specific location. Come to think of it, I could see this company ripe for either a partnership with a large search company or even a buyout. More info here.
Posctript: Google has registered the domains:
GoogleTransitplanner.com., .info.,.org. and .net
GoogleTripPlanner.net, .org, and .info
In case you're wondering, GoogleTripPlanner.com was registered to a person in Virginia last month. Thank to G.R. for his help with this one.