While Sunder Pichai was introducing the powerful Google Lens in his recent keynote, He never forgot to mention the Google Maps and its impact on the users. According to him, People travel 1 Billion miles on Google maps each day and this number is increasing at a very rapid rate. The mapping service introduced by Google in 2005 has always been a popular service for the global users. Soon after the Google Map app was introduced for smartphone users, the app became the most popular app with over 50% of the smartphone users having the app.
Along with the discussion of some basic features, this blog is about the useful tips and tricks for Google Maps that are not known to every user. So whether you are new to Google Maps or have been an avid user of the app for years, this blog contains something new and important for you.
Google Map Features
The mapping service from Google is more powerful today than what even the Google itself would have thought it would be in less than a decade of its inception. In this feature-rich service, we have everything we need to navigate through, almost anywhere in the world.
Either you are on a bicycle, bus, or a car, the service will facilitate you by giving you updates on the traffic situation in real-time. Moreover, you can plan your routes in deep detail; taking into account each corner and turn of the way. Apart from traveling, one can have a bird-eye view of any part of the world by sitting on his couch. Thanks to the satellite imaging, street views, and panoramas; visiting a far-flung place is no more a dream.
The list of features is so extensive that there can be a series of blogs written only to explain all the features of this amazing mapping service. However, we want you to know that the real fun is using this service rather than reading tons of content on it. With that being said, we have tried to include all the hidden features of this service to the readers in this blog. This will help them greatly in exploring the mapping service to the best of its potential.
In this blog, we are enlisting all the special features of the service along with some useful tips and tricks to best use the mapping service. Read on this blog and get the latest and updated knowledge on the Google Maps.
It’s Absolutely Free!
You read it right! The mapping service, along with all its features is absolutely free. We don’t know how long the Google will keep it free, but as of now, there is no indication from the company to monetize it in any way. So, avail the service and get the most out of it. And yes, no matter how extensively you use it; it’s on house!
More Realistic Mapping
Normally, a journey from one location to another involves many planned and unplanned stops that most of the virtual mappings solutions fail to take into account. Fortunately, the Google maps give you closest to real feel while routing your journeys. This means that now your stops are not the starting point and the destination, but you can also add as many stops as you need.
To add more than one destination in your journey, enter the first two points i.e. the starting point and the destination, and then click on the three-dot icon on the top-right of the screen. This icon lets you as many stops as you like in your journey. The option rightly doesn’t work if you are in the mass transit mode.
Live Traffic Reports
This feature is available on the desktop application only. You can get the live reports on the traffic situation around your area. Open the hamburger menu and click on the ‘Traffic’ section. There are multiple options to retrieve the information on the traffic situation; either you can get information on the ‘live traffic’ or ‘typical traffic’. The later gets you data on the expected traffic intensity at specific places and at specific times.
Ride Sharing Options
Today’s transportation world is a pretty much dominated by online taxi services. As these ride-sharing services mostly use Google’s API, the Google knows where the taxis are. If you enter any destination on the map, you will have an option to look for any taxi-hailing options from your location to that destination. Not only this, Google Maps will also tell you the estimated fare and distance to that destination. An important thing to note here you can’t book any cab directly from the mapping app. The app redirects you to the ride-sharing company’s app.
Go Back In Time
The street view feature has been there for many years. In all these years of action, Google has collected a hell lot of images. To make use of all the images collected over time, the company introduced a new feature through which the users could go back in time and take a look at what a specific street looked a few years back.
Although this feature is not available for all the locations, but wherever it is, it gives an amazing time traveling experience for the users. The feature is called Time Travel and can be accessed by clicking on a small stopwatch-shaped icon on the top left of the screen.
The feature lets you personalize your maps according to your needs and requirements. You can design your personal map with just a few clicks. To avail this feature, go to the hamburger menu in your desktop app. Click on the ‘Create Map’ option that you will find in the ‘Maps’ section. You will be able to add all the important information in your personal maps such as pinpoints, notes, personalized directions for walking and driving, etc.
Once you create a personal map, you can share it with your friends and family with an option for them to edit it. There is a ‘Share’ button on the top left of the screen; with this button, you can share the map in a similar way as you share any other file on the Google Drive.
Google Map History
Ever thought why most of the Google services are for free? Well, they might sell the services free to you but whatever you do with these services is what matter most to the Google. They track every online activity of the users on their services and apps and earn huge loads of money by targeting the ads according to your online interests. These activities sure include your searches and other activities on the Google Maps. You can see a well-managed history of your activities on Google Services on the activity section of your Google account. By filtering through products dates, you will reach your past spent with the maps.
Google Maps; The New Google Earth?
There was a time when the both services served different users with different purposes. But not anymore; the two services are closely linked together and one can feel that the Google Earth is now a subordinate of the Google Maps. You can easily switch to the former by selecting the Satellite mode and you will have a bird-eye view of the earth and its possessions.
In the Satellite mode, you have a 3D option that allows you to explore the earth from any axis or angle. You can zoom into the level that you can easily identify buildings and other structures. When the zooming in doesn’t help, simply tap the desired figure and the information will pop up.
Measuring Distance Between Locations
The mapping service allows you to measure the distance between two points; and that too with a single right click. To measure the distance, simply select the ‘Measure Distance’ option. As soon as you select the option, a point will appear. Clicking anywhere else on the map will give you the distance between the first point and the one you just clicked.
Moreover, you set the scales from the Scales option in the bottom of the app. Also, you can measure the distance between multiple points by simply adding the points (i.e. clicking on the map.) The screen will show the total distance from the first point to the last point selected.
The easiest it can get is that you type the location and the map shows you the directions to that point. But wait, the web version of Google maps makes it easier than that; just do a right click and the service will prompt a list of locations. You don’t even have to type the location!
Change The Directions
You can change the default directions set by the Google maps through a simple drag and drop method. Although the map shows the shortest and most suitable directions between two points if you don’t like the direction due to any reason you can alter it according to your choice. Just drag the route to the points of your liking and make your own way to your destination.
Google Maps caters to the users from all over the world. To give a more personalized experience to the users from different regions, the service has customized features for different regions. This includes local languages and tailored results for local searches. If you are traveling and want to get the local version of the maps, you can browse through the local URLs assigned to them. Regardless of the language, you use while searching, the results will be same and accurate. For example, if you search for a US city in the Spanish, the results will be from the US city and not about some Spanish backyard.
Although Indoor directions weren’t performing that well until a few days back, it has surely made its place in the latest mapping solutions. With the help of this feature, you can get indoor maps and directions. For example, if you are in a big mall or a public place, you can get accurate directions to the spots with just a few clicks. This feature was available only in the mobile apps but works just fine on the desktop version as well.
Using Google Maps Offline
Many times, we face a situation when we are in dire need of directions or information about a place but have no access to internet data. Google Maps solves this situation for the users by allowing offline access where users can get directions as well as the ability to download apps when offline.
Track Your Parking Spot
Already a very useful feature which will get only more important with time. Let’s admit it, we all have been through this situation once or a twice in our lives. Parked the car, get done with the work, came back to the parking lot, and have absolutely no clue where you parked your car! With more and more cars everywhere, it’s hard to find out the exact location of the parked car especially if you are in a rush. But if you have Google Maps with you, remove this from your list of life’s biggest problems.
With the help of the app, you will be able to mark your parking location once you reach a location. There is a little catch if you are an iPhone user. The Android version of the app contains more options for this feature such as adding notes to the parking spot. Also, the Android app does have a timer to let you know that you are running out to time and need to take your car out of the parking lot ASAP. Both these option miss in the iOS app.
This is certainly not the end of the list of useful features that Google Maps brings to you. The idea here was to highlight some hidden features of the service so that you find it easy to explore it yourself and make the most of it when you use it. If you have gone through all the features mentioned here, you are in a better position now to call yourself an advanced-level user of Google Maps.
Related Google Help