Google Maps will pinpoint nearly every U.S. rail crossing to make driving safer, the U.S. railroad agency Monday. Fred Katayama reports.
Google's got a deal with the government to make driving safer. The Federal Railroad Administration said Google Maps service will identify nearly every U.S. rail crossing using the agency's data. The app will also provide audio and visual alerts for its turn-by-turn navigation feature. More drivers rely on smartphone apps for navigation, and the agency says many of them don't identify rail crossings. Last year, the number of deaths at highway-rail crossings rose 16 percent to 270. Leading the agency as acting administrator is a former Facebook executive, Sarah Feinberg. She says the vast majority of these accidents and fatalities could have been prevented because they're often the result of a driver's lack of awareness of a crossing or attempt to "beat the train." Expect similar deals with other map services. The agency has also reached out to Apple, AOL's MapQuest, TomTom and Garmin. Separately, the Wall Street Journal reports a new study by two top U.S. scholars suggests that Google skews search results to favor its own services like Maps. The study says that harms consumers. That research was supported by Google's rival, Yelp. Google's shares falling in early trading amid a global selloff sparked by the Greek debt crisis.