Google Maps Adds Biking and Ridesharing to Its Transit Options

nirat/iStock via Getty Images
nirat/iStock via Getty Images

The directions and time estimates given by Google Maps are very straightforward. That is, if you’re driving from door to door in your own car, or walking from door to door on your own two feet. If you’re using a combination of other transportation methods, however, your “Be there in 30!” message is sometimes really code for “I have only the vaguest idea of how long it’ll actually take me to get there.”

To help you out, Google Maps has announced that it’s adding biking and ridesharing to its transportation options, so you can now go from your bike to the train to an Uber to your friend’s apartment—and your friend will know that “Be there in 30!” means exactly that.

You’ll be able to access the new features by entering a destination, and tapping on "Directions" and then the tiny train icon on Google Maps, just like you normally would to see transit options. Before, if your starting point or destination was even just feet from the train station or bus stop, you’d see those routes paired with walking directions. The new feature includes options for swapping out those walks with biking or ridesharing. If you choose biking for a portion of your journey, Google Maps will automatically tailor those routes for cyclists. If you choose ridesharing, you’ll see options for rideshare apps like Lyft and Uber, and Google will give you the details about cost, wait time, traffic, and more.

Google Maps transit options updates

According to The Verge, this is Google’s latest attempt to make travel easier for urbanites. In June, Google Maps added a feature that used past data to predict how crowded trains and buses would be for commuters. Uber is also vying for the position of one-app-fits-all when it comes to travel: They’ve recently added transit options to their app, and they’re testing a feature that allows Denver residents to buy train tickets directly in the app.

If your device uses iOS, you might start seeing the transit changes on Google Maps as early as today. If you’re an Android user, you might see ridesharing options today, with the bike feature to follow soon.

To remind yourself how much easier it is to take public transportation in the digital age, check out these historical transit maps.

[h/t The Verge]

Your Smart TV Is Vulnerable to Hackers, According to the FBI

Ahmet Yarali / iStock via Getty Images
Ahmet Yarali / iStock via Getty Images

By this point, many of us have had the experience of mentioning a product or service out loud during a conversation, only to have an ad for that very thing pop up on a smart device mere moments later. And, although you may have gotten used to the idea of your gadgets keeping tabs on you, you might not realize that your new smart TV’s monitoring capabilities make it extra vulnerable to hackers.

KATV reports that the Portland, Oregon branch of the FBI released guidelines last week as part of its “Tech Tuesday” initiative to warn people about the risk of hackers gaining access to unsecured televisions through the routers. Because smart TVs likely have microphones and even cameras, successful hackers could do anything from petty mischief to serious stalking.

“At the low end of the risk spectrum, they can change channels, play with the volume, and show your kids inappropriate videos,” the FBI says. “In a worst-case scenario, they can turn on your bedroom TV’s camera and microphone and silently cyberstalk you.”

Before you head back to Best Buy, brandishing your receipt and begging for a refund, there are a number of safety precautions you can take to make yourself less of an easy target for cyberattacks.

The first step is knowing exactly what features your TV has, and understanding how to control them—the FBI recommends doing an internet search with the model number and the words microphone, camera, and privacy.

After that, you should delve right into those security settings. Disable the collection of personal information if you can, and learn how to limit microphone and camera access. If you don’t see an option to shut off the camera, black tape over it does the trick.

And, even if it’s not the most riveting reading material, it’s worth perusing the fine print on your device and streaming services to find out what data they collect, where they store it, and how they use it.

Check out all of the tips here, and then see what other everyday objects might be susceptible to hackers.

[h/t KATV]

Hotel in Japan Is Offering Rooms for $1 Per Night—If You Agree to Livestream Your Stay

DragonImages/iStock via Getty Images
DragonImages/iStock via Getty Images

Many people are happy to document their vacations online without getting paid to do it. Now, as The Washington Post reports, exhibitionists who can't resist low prices are now eligible to book a hotel room in Fukuoka, Japan for just $1 a night. In return, they must agree to livestream their experience.

Tetsuya Inoue, the manager of Asahi Ryokan in Fukuoka, got the idea for the marketing stunt after one of his guests broadcast his stay voluntarily. Inoue figured that if people are already comfortable sharing their private moments in the hotel with the world, he might as well use that to his advantage.

The "One Dollar Hotel" promotion is a way for Inoue to bring attention to the 30-year-old guesthouse, which is owned by his grandmother. For $1—a fee that covers lodging, taxes, and tips—customers have access to a room that normally costs $27 a night. As guests eat, sleep, and get ready for the day, a camera installed in the room livestreams their every move to the hotel's YouTube channel. The only place where they have privacy is in the bathroom. Signs in the room warn guests not to engage in any "lewd acts" and to keep passports and credit cards out of the camera's field of view.

In addition to generating publicity for Asahi Ryokan, Inoue hopes that his YouTube videos will eventually become popular enough to monetize. Five guests have agreed to the deal so far, and after launching in October, the One Dollar Hotel YouTube channel already has close to 15,000 subscribers.

[h/t The Washington Post]