Google, which provides online transit guides for more than a dozen U.S. cities, is now taking on the biggest — New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
Google is working with the agency to give users one place to go for maps, schedules and trip planners. The New York and New Jersey transit agencies serve the five New York City boroughs and suburbs in New Jersey, Connecticut, Westchester County and Long Island.
Google introduced its online guides in 2005. They boost Google’s revenue from ad revenue. Google probably got about $500 million in sales last year from local ads, or about 8 percent of its U.S. revenue of $6 billion, said Greg Sterling, an analyst at Sterling Market Intelligence in San Francisco.
U.S. companies spent about $922 million last year to place ads alongside local searches and maps, according to Kelsey Group Inc., a market research firm in Princeton, New Jersey. That will almost triple to $2.61 billion by 2011, the researcher says. They forecast global local search and online classified advertising revenues will grow from $15.7 billion in 2005 to $31.1 billion in 2010. The local search segment will grow from $3.4 billion in 2005 to $13 billion in 2010, with online classifieds growing from $12.3 billion to $18.1 billion during the same period.
The metropolitan New York market would be the biggest and most complicated Google has tried to crack with its online guide. The New York MTA had 8.27 million daily riders as of Dec. 31 and runs the city’s subway and buses and the Long Island and Metro- North railroads. The system has 468 subway stations, 35 fewer than in all other U.S. cities combined.
While some agencies, including New York’s MTA and New Jersey Transit, have trip planners on their own Web sites, travelers may be more inclined to get directions from Google because they already use its other mapping services, rather than trying to navigate local transit Web sites.
The Nokia N95, E90 and 6110 Navigator as well as some Windows Mobile phones have built-in GPS, with features similar to standalone GPS units. Nokia Maps and Google Maps for Mobile as well as Yahoo Mobile Maps and Microsoft Live Mobile Maps will soon include GPS support for points of interest.