Many people are relying on Google Maps so much that it’s hard to live without. A couple of decades ago, people didn’t have a map in their pocket, or at least not a map of the world.
Today, merely using Google Maps doesn’t cut it. There are a lot of cool tricks that involve more than looking for your destination. Here are some of the best tricks on Google Maps.
Use Them in Offline Mode
When do people use Google Maps the most? When they’re traveling, of course. You are in a new city that you’re not familiar with and you need to get somewhere. That’s cool, Google Maps has got your back, right? Maybe only if you’re in the US, but if you are abroad, chances are that you’ll want to avoid using your data.
What you can do then is to download the map of the area beforehand, along with all the necessary information regarding the streets, monuments, amenities, and so on. To download a map, type in the name of the location in the search bar and go to it. In the menu at the bottom, scroll to the right and tap Download. Confirm and save the downloaded map. Now, you can get access to every detail about the particular location, even if your phone is offline.
Bear in mind, however, that these downloads can take up hundreds of megabytes.
The Globe View
You’ve heard of Google Earth. It’s still an active service that allows for some amazingly detailed views of our planet. Back when Google Earth first sprouted, there wasn’t Google Maps then. It was only a few years later that Google released a much less hardware-demanding app called Google Maps. The idea was to give people access to the map of any place on the planet, which you can use for navigation purposes.
Since then, the line that separates Google Earth and Google Maps has blurred. Google Maps first added the satellite view and then the 3D view. Now, to enter globe mode, you have to either activate it through the hamburger menu in the upper-left corner or use the 2D/3D button in the right part of the screen. If you can’t find either of the settings, you can stick to Google Earth for the globe view.
You can always screenshot your location and use an editing tool to manipulate the screenshot. Then, you can send it to someone to let them know where you are. But this isn’t the most streamlined way to go about it.
Apple introduced the location sharing option a couple of years back. Using your iPhone, you can simply allow another iPhone user to know where you currently are. Google Maps didn’t have this option until recently. To activate this feature, navigate to the hamburger menu (three horizontal lines) or tap your Google profile picture. Then, select Location sharing, followed by Share location. Finally, find the person you want to share your location with and then select them and tap Share.
This feature will also show others how much battery you have left on your phone. Neat, huh?
People are still adapting to talking to their smart devices. However, taking your eyes off the road when you’re driving is a risky business, and that’s where voice commands are perhaps the most useful.
If you’ve enabled voice commands on your device, all you need to say is “OK Google,” followed by “find [insert object/location/service].” Your device will automatically open Google Maps and give you the directions.
So, you’ve become well-versed in using the directions feature on Google Maps. You know precisely how to go from point A to point B. But then, it’s time to plot your next course. At times, this can be tedious and time-consuming.
Maybe you didn’t know this, but you can actually plot your daily itinerary in Google Maps. It’s called adding multiple destinations. To start, add your starting point, as you usually would when planning a trip. Then, add your destination. Next to your starting point, you’ll see a three-dot icon. Tap it and select Add stop from the menu that pops up. This will turn your destination into a stop, allowing you to add another one.
Repeat this until you’ve plotted your entire trip.
Quick Access to Directions
On the desktop version of Google Maps (browser), you’ll find that plotting a course (starting point and destination) can be a bit tedious. Fortunately, Google Maps has an intuitive alternative. Go to any location and right-click it. Select Directions from here if this is where you want to start. This will activate the directions mode, with the set location as the starting point. Alternatively, if you select Directions to here, the directions mode will start with the select location as the destination.
Whether you want to plan your jogging session based on distance or find out how far one place on Earth is from another just for fun, Google Maps offers the tool for measuring distance. This tool is very simple to use. Just right-click the location you want to measure the distance from and then left-click the end location. This will tell you the exact distance on a straight line.
Of course, you can add more clicks all over the map, which can help you measure the total distance of a particular route.
Never Forget Where You’re Parked
This seems to be a common seasoned driver’s problem. Fortunately, the Google Maps app allows you to keep your parking info with you at all times. All you really need to do is open Google Maps as soon as you’ve parked and find your location. Tap the blue dot representing your location. A menu will open, offering you a remember-your-parking-location option. Select it.
Bear in mind, though, that your phone’s location services need to be on if you want this to work.
Handling Google Maps
There are many other tools that Google Maps offers. To truly navigate Google Maps in its full capacity, you need to use the app the right way. The above tips should get you started. Spending time with the app and learning and trying out the features is the only way to become a Google Maps power user.