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story.lead_photo.caption Google Maps brings real-time bike-sharing info to your phone. (Google/TNS)

Google Maps has added a nifty search feature that will show you bike-share stations and availability in 24 cities around the world. It's perfect for travelers who want to know where they can pick up or drop off a bike when they're ready to explore the city on two wheels.

All you do is search for the name of a bike-share company in a particular city. For example, I searched the provider "Santander Cycles" in London and learned only two bikes were available at the Hyde Park Corner location but nine were up for grabs at the nearby Knightsbridge station. I even searched on terms such as "bike-share Toronto" for the Canadian city and found 20 stations with real-time information.

The feature is available for U.S. cities—Chicago, L.A., New York City and the San Francisco Bay Area—as well as Barcelona, Spain; Berlin, Dublin, Vienna and other international destinations. Google expects to add more cities too.

The feature joins the app's other real-time transportation data, such as info on buses and trains.

Google estimates there are 1,600 bike-share systems worldwide. It has partnered with transportation data company Ito World in creating the new feature.

Last year Google Maps rolled out locations for Lime scooters, pedal bikes and e-bikes as part of its transit tab, without real-time information.

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