Folha Online published today a response from Marcelo Quintella, Google Maps Brazil Manager, about possible problems related to public transport routes in the recently launched Google Transit. Below, we republish in full:
“The system does include the Metro. It turns out that the estimated times for buses are shorter, which results in the preference of the system for bus information results. It is being checked to be as accurate as possible. We are working to resolve this on two fronts: the first is with SPTrans itself, which is the one who provides us with the estimated travel and times. The second is to make a small change in the interface in which we will always return to the user a travel option in the “other” mode of transport. This means that we will show all options to the user – in other words, even if it is true that the estimated bus time is better than the metro, we will still show the metro journey. SPTrans’ travel time estimate needs to be improved. They are working to refine the estimates. We should have news in early January.
It is also worth mentioning that the service was not launched with flaws, but with a reasonable level of accuracy. In addition, these problems, although very relevant, do not affect 100% of users. Anyway, as with all Google products launched to date, we work with the concept of “perpetual beta”. It works for virtually all of our products, including the most mature ones, like Orkut, Gmail and YouTube. This means that the product is never ready: it is constantly and continuously being improved. It is Google’s well-known policy to launch products and receive user feedback. We could stay on internal tests for a long time without ever reaching 100% perfection. The way to discover the problems that most affect users is simple: by listening to them. The user is the one who understands the data more than SPTrans or Google. That is why we have improved our products through user comments. The good and the bad, as always. ”