Google Maps has long been considered one of the most popular apps ever, so much so that it has almost completely “retired” the good old GPS .
Whether you are looking for a new restaurant through your smartphone or planning your vacation itinerary on your computer, this is an extremely useful and easy-to-use software. Launched back in 2005 , this service has, among its many strengths, allowing full usability both via mobile app and website, with an intuitive interface even for the less experienced.
The tricks of Google Maps to make the most of the platform
Despite its overall simplicity, this service also has sides and functions that are less visible to most users. In this article we are going to find some tricks of Google Maps to push this software to the maximum, getting everything it can provide us.
1- The Timeline function
Google Maps Timeline is one of the most interesting, underrated, and perhaps problematic features of the app, but it’s important that you know how to use it and what it can do. Essentially, it shows you wherever you’ve been with your phone, as long as you’ve turned on location history . It can be useful for those times when you are trying to remember a route taken in the past or a place you have visited, but in many cases it can appear too invasive of privacy.
To see your history, all you have to do is open Google Maps on your phone, tap on your profile and select the History item . There you can see wherever you went with your phone in a certain amount of time. Of course, if you don’t want Google to store this information, you can always delete your platform searches and location history, or activate the internal incognito mode .
Google has added a relatively new feature to Timeline called Insights , which gives you a visual representation of the travel modes you’ve used and the types of places you’ve frequented.
2- Edit existing maps
No map is perfect. New roads are built periodically, others are decommissioned and urban planning works constantly change the way we navigate in urban and non-urban centers.
Thankfully, Google has created a way to submit changes to existing maps to correct these inconsistencies. Users can “draw” new or missing roads through Google Maps (desktop environment only). All you have to do is click on the side menu button, then click Edit Map and select Missing Road .
Here you can correct the error and send further feedback to Google. This feature is not yet available to users around the world but, within a few years, it will be available in all latitudes.
3- Hide your home
Google Street View is a great tool for exploring a new and unfamiliar place before visiting it, but there are times when you may not want other people to see places that are dear to you, such as exactly where you live.
If you are not comfortable with your home appearing in the search results of any user in the world, fear not. There is an option to hide your home from Google Street View – as with the New Streets feature, it’s best to work on this from a web browser in a desktop environment, so you don’t make mistakes.
Just know that if Google accepts your request, the deletion is permanent.
4- Split the screen
One of the best features of Android is that many devices allow you to use and view multiple apps at the same time by splitting the screen . However, until recently, you couldn’t take full advantage of this feature in Google Maps on these platforms.
Now it only takes a few taps and you can see both the address details of the place you are interested in and its street view, all while keeping other apps open at the same time.
5- Locate the charging stations
With electric vehicles becoming more and more popular, planning a route suitable for the range of our car is becoming more and more important for travelers. Several new electric vehicles with integrated Android Auto are gaining the ability to plan the most efficient travel routes based on the location of available charging stations.
On a purely practical level, Google Maps will show you where these charging stations are and, of course, how to get to them.
6- Find gender neutral toilets
Google Maps, among the different functions offered, also helps to find gender- neutral restrooms . In this way, any user can find a place that suits their needs without feeling uncomfortable.
Even so, just because a company doesn’t have this designation listed in its services doesn’t mean it doesn’t have it. Many have not yet updated their Google Maps information to accommodate this new feature.
7- Support eco-sustainable businesses
Following what has just been said, Google Maps has also added a function that allows companies to indicate whether they accept items for recycling and what types of items they can treat in this way.
Not only that: users can also add information or notes regarding commercial activities in this sense, in order to let others know which activities are environmentally friendly.
8- Check the timetables of public transport
Among the many services offered by Google Maps, did you know that there is also one to see the timing of public transport ? Passengers can now see in real time how crowded and / or busy the bus, train or ferry lines are.
Therefore, now you can get a realistic estimate of how long it will take you to cover your commute, you can get an idea of how pleasant it will be and eventually opt for an alternative.
9- Find a vaccine center
By typing something like vaccines near me in the search field it is possible, in some locations you will be able to locate the closest vaccination centers and information about it (opening hours, if you need to ask for an appointment and much more).
10- Get help from the Google Assistant
If you’re not lucky enough to have a vehicle with Android Auto built in, you can still take advantage of Google Maps’ hands-free navigation through the Google Assistant . Just activate this feature in the app settings and you will be able to start navigating using your voice as long as you have turned on Google Maps for directions and your phone is in portrait.
Just remember that running your phone in constant GPS mode can be battery-tiring, so you may need a proper power bank on hand.
11- Share your location
The users of iPhone can share their location with friends and loved ones via the app Where , but you know that you have a default app, and pre-installed on Android that does the same thing? It’s Google Maps!
You can share your location for a set period of time, or indefinitely, with a trusted contact. This doesn’t even have to use an Android phone or have Google Maps installed, as it can directly use the website for tracking.
12- Save your offline maps
Sometimes, your travels take you to places without a cellular signal or to areas with no Wi-Fi service , but you may still want to know where you are going. In other cases, your mobile traffic may have run out and you may not be able to rely on the network to manage your movements.
On these occasions, you can search for your location in advance, download and save maps of your surroundings for use when your phone does not connect to the web. This is not only a good way to always have a map handy, but it can also enable you to conserve battery power .
In this sense, if you know in advance that you have no signal, activate the airplane mode and use your maps offline!
13- Delete your data
We referenced this earlier, but if you want to take advantage of Google Maps but aren’t comfortable with Google storing your data, you can manually delete it or schedule it for automatic deletion.
This can be done from a desktop browser or directly on your Android / iPhone device without particular difficulty, by following the procedure in point 1 and unchecking all the entries relating to history and privacy.
14- The latest goodies
Google is continually updating Maps features, but some particularly interesting things are in store for future Android 12 users once it is officially available.
Apparently, one of the new features will help road traffic, trying to reduce difficult traffic situations for safer and faster travel. The developers, according to rumors, are also adding features to help you navigate interior spaces better and find parking spaces even more easily.