We all know that Google Maps is great for helping you get around, find a location or a good route, but there are so many other features that you haven’t probably tried. It’s time you go for a walk or get in your car and try these useful features, because you won’t regret it!
You already know about zooming in and out on your handheld device, but there’s more! You can zoom in or out on a map with one hand by double tapping and keeping your finger, you can slide up or down to zoom in or out.
If you want to spin the map, place your index finger and your thumb on the screen and twist both of them to left or right.
If you want to shift the perspective, place two fingers on a map and slide them upward. This will take you in a ‘fly’ mode over the area you are visiting.
You can press and hold the ‘Directions’ button and it will get you to the navigation mode, which will provide you the best route and which means of transportation you could use to get to your destination.
If your hands are on the wheel, then you can use Google Maps Hands-Free. There are voice commands for Google Maps to help you navigate with nothing but your voice. And it will also tell you back the directions, so that you don’t need to glance at your phone.
Say ‘Okay Google’ and try some of these commands: “What road is this?”, “What’s my next turn?”, “What’s my ETA?”, “How’s traffic ahead?”, “Avoid tolls” / “Avoid highways”, “Find gas stations”, “Navigate home”, “What’s the closest hotel?”, “Exit navigation”.
Remembers Where You Park Your Car
By tapping the blue dot that shows you the current location, will show you a menu that has more options, including the one allowing you to save your parking location. You can also add a timer to alert you when you must move your car.
Share Your Own Location
When you need someone to find you or know where you are, you can share your location, by tapping the blue dot. You will be able to put a timer for location sharing to one contact or until you turn the sharing off. You can also share your ‘trip progress’ to whomever you want until you have reached your destination.
Search Places Along Your Route
You can swipe-up while you navigate, and you will see a menu that shows you the option of finding places along your route, such as restaurants, supermarkets, coffee shops and so on, ever service being on your way from your starting point to the desired destination.
Find Near Places
You can also find near services around your location or a certain spot that you’ve chosen. For example, you can write: “Restaurants near here”, “Gas stations near the airport”, “Things to do near the ‘X’ Theatre”.
Street View Navigation
You can also use Street View to find your way. You will have to tap on the image of the location in which you are (or you can also do this from the comfort of your home) and tap on the compass, up – in the right corner. If you hold and move your phone around, you will see the image shift as you move the phone.
Navigate in Time
You can use this feature on your desktop version of Google Maps, as it isn’t available on phones.
Take the little yellow person from the right-corner (bottom of page) and drag him on the map, dropping him wherever you want. Looking at the top left of the screen, you will see a clock icon with a gray box that shows you an image of the place. Under the image there is a slider that you can drag so that you can see images of the same places back in time (10 years of photographs!).
Send a Map to Your Phone/ Car
You can search for different locations or routes on your desktop and them save your directions and send them on your phone or on your car. After you’ve searched for a place, you can opt for sending the information to your phone or to save it. To send it to your car, you must add your car manually – if it is compatible to Google Maps.
With this feature, you can find out if there is traffic, after you’ve asked for directions. You can choose ‘Leave now’ / ‘Depart at’ or ‘Arrive by’. In all cases, the traffic estimation tool will tell you how much time you’ll spend on road and if you choose ‘Arrive by’, it will tell you when you’re supposed to hit the road.
Add Extra Destinations to Directions
Some adventures require stops, and the brains behind Google Maps are aware of this issue. They have added this feature, so that you can add stops on your route. After you tap ‘Directions’, tap the icon that has three dots. It will open a menu where you can add more destinations and drag and drop them to arrange them as you wish.
You can measure the distance that exists between more locations. Tap and hold the finger on where you start your journey. There will be a red pin that will show you a white bar with more information on that location. If you swipe the bar and select ‘Measure distance’ and then tap the blue + to find a second point. Do that for as many routes you want to measure between those points.