8 Google Maps Features That Will Change How You Use The App - SlashGear (2023)

8 Google Maps Features That Will Change How You Use The App - SlashGear (1)


ByJack Filsinger/May 29, 2023 10:30 am EST

Google Maps is an app that most people use almost every single day, particularly when they're on the go. Whether you're navigating a daily commute to avoid traffic, exploring a brand-new city or vacation spot, or even ordering groceries, we rely on Google Maps more than almost any other app. Yet, despite the fact that most people will probably use Google Maps multiple times a week, if not every single day, it's pretty easy to miss some of the more complex and in-depth features the app offers when you're using it on mobile.

Not only can these features really improve the way you use Google Maps, but they can also make the app more effective depending on the way you're using it. These features range from helpful reminders to heavily detailed commute information that can be imperative, particularly if you live in a larger metropolitan area. However you use Google Maps, these lesser-known features — all of which work on both the iOS and Android versions of the app — will definitively change the way you use the app forever.

Time travel street view

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Worawee Meepian/Shutterstock

(Video) SlashGear Weekly Roundup Video -- April 3, 2011

There are various ways to use one of Google Maps' most helpful features: Street View. Street View has only become more prevalent since Google Maps started rolling out features that allowed many users to become street view photographers themselves. Whether you use it to look for parking lots or to recognize landmarks before you head out on your drive, Street View can be one of the most imperative features to master on Google Maps. However, one specific feature of street view that many people don't know about is time travel Street View.

This may sound a lot more sci-fi than it actually is, but it's still an incredibly helpful tip to utilize when using Street View. Time travel on Street View allows you to see what a location might have looked like a few months or years ago and can help you check to see if the street view you're currently looking at hasn't been updated in a while. The last thing anybody wants to do when navigating to a new place is get the wrong idea about what the location they're driving to looks like.

To activate this feature on Android or iOS devices, all you have to do is enter Street View, tap anywhere on the image to find more information, and if there are additional photos to look at, you can click on See More Dates and scroll through previous imagery to see how a location has changed over time.

Finding where you parked

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Pollyana Ventura/Getty Images

We've all been in that horrific situation where you park in an area you've never been before, you're running late, and you race away from your car before checking to see where you've actually parked. Whether you find yourself in a massive parking lot and can't find your car or simply parked too far away from the place you're going to retrace your steps, Google Maps can actually help you remember where you parked so you don't have to. This feature is super simple, quick to use, and can save you a lot of headaches down the line.

To activate this feature, simply open Google Maps when you park your car and hold the blue location dot that signifies your current location. Once you do so, you'll see a variety of options appear, one of which should say either Save Parking or Set As Parking Location depending on whether you are using Android or iOS. Hit that button and the app will remember exactly where you parked your car.

Now when you're heading back to your car, you can reopen the app and retrace your steps.On Android devices, you can even add notes or a picture of where you parked if you want.

Check the last train

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Zamrznuti tonovi/Shutterstock

Anyone who travels via train or subway will find this feature invaluable, whether you're adjusting to a new work commute or simply navigating a brand-new city and don't want to get stranded somewhere. Google Maps has a function that allows you to check when the last train or subway on a particular route will leave so that you can be cognizant of what time you have to start heading home. This can be a real lifesaver, particularly if you don't want to have to call a last-minute taxi or rideshare service — which can often get really expensive late at night.

This function is also incredibly simple to use on both iOS and Android. Once you've opened Google Maps, enter your desired route via train. Once you've selected which train or subway you want to use, click on the tab that says Last, which appears next to the Depart At button on the navigation. Once you've done that, you can easily see what time the last train departs, and hopefully, you'll never get stranded in the middle of nowhere again!

(Video) SlashGear Weekly Roundup Video - July 3, 2011

One-handed use

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Suchada Sukploy/Shutterstock

Whether you're in your car, on foot, or using a scooter or bike service integrated with Google Maps, this function is really handy for quick use when you're a bit strapped for hands or time. We've all been in that position where we're on the go and trying to quickly adjust the map size and can't do it the normal way — by pinching or stretching the map with two hands. Luckily, Google Maps has a built-in way to use just one hand to adjust your map in any way you need to that can save a lot of frustration when it comes to having to adjust your commute on the fly, whether you're stuck in traffic or on a delayed train.

There's a variety of things you can do with just one hand on Google Maps, all of which should work the same on Android and iOS devices. First, you can double tap with one thumb to automatically and quickly zoom in. Then, if you hold the second tap down, you can scroll your thumb up and down to control the zoom. This makes it really easy to get a quick bird's eye view of where you are or zoom in closely on the details of the directions without having to use both hands.

Measure distance

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This feature is an essential must-know for hikers or anybody who tends to go a bit off-road at times, though it can be used for a variety of different purposes. Google Maps allows you to manually measure the distance between two points even if the route isn't specifically covered by the app itself. This can be really helpful for runners and other types of athletes as well, particularly since Google Maps has been better as of late about adding more directions for walkers or cyclists as part of efforts to improve green navigation options forenvironmentally conscious commuting.

The best part is, this feature, which can be found on Android and iOS devices, is really simple to use despite the fact that it's not as well-known. First, you simply have to drop a pin somewhere on the map that represents either you're point A or point B. Then, scroll down to the Measure Distance button that should appear toward the bottom of the screen. From there, you can maneuver a small X icon that will appear to calculate the distance between the two points. This really helps save time if you're trying to find out how far apart two places are but don't have specific addresses or other points to work off of.

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Download maps

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Tada Images/Shutterstock

While you will have to plan a little bit ahead to make use of this feature, it can still prove to be essential, particularly for long car trips where you might lose cell service or to use in a place that you frequent. Google Maps does allow you to download maps for offline use specifically on your phone, not just in the desktop version. This can prove to be completely invaluable, particularly if you travel through the same area often and don't want to have to use your data over and over again to look at the same route.

First, once you're in Google Maps on your Android or iOS device, simply type in the name of the city or larger area that you want to download an offline map. Then, once you've done that, scroll down to the bottom of the screen. From there, tap the three dots icon or hit More, where you will see a button to the right that says Download Offline Map. From there, it's easy to select an area to download and then input directions and find routes without having to connect to the internet or make use of your data ever again.

Live view directions

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TY Lim/Shutterstock

Sometimes, it can really difficultto interpret route directions in a larger city — particularly one you're not familiar with. Between confusing sidestreets, unfamiliar landmarks, and more, it can be helpful to get a little boost when navigating city streets on foot. Luckily, Google Maps offers live-view directions that can help in this regard. While there are some limitations, in many places, you can use live view to help you navigate at a street level. This feature allows you to use your camera to show you exactly where you are and when you need to be making turns. This way, you don't have to waste any time trying to interpret a map.

This feature is also incredibly easy to use on both iOS and Android phones. All you have to do is input your walking route and allow the directions to load. Once the route is determined, scroll down to the bottom of the page and look for the Live View button, which will appear if the area you're navigating is well-mapped by the app. Then, point your camera up toward the street and nearby buildings, and Live View does the rest!

There are some stipulations, and the function primarily works best for larger metropolitan areas, but it can really prove helpful when you're having a hard time reading the standard directions that Google Maps provides.

(Video) SlashGear Weekly Roundup Video -- April 17, 2011


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Google Maps has always had ways to find specific locations along your commute or in your area. Typically, this type of functionality has been used to add stops along a commute, like an EV charging area or gas station. However, if you're on vacation — or just brand-new to an area and want to get accustomed to your new neighborhood — Google Maps also has anaptly namedfunction that allows you to lean into your adventurous or exploratory side and discover new places rather than just new stops along your commute.

The Explore function shows you key points of interest and will navigate you there as quickly as possible. This is perfect for sightseeing in an unfamiliar spot and can highlight everything from great restaurants to tourist destinations at the press of a button.

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In Google Maps, once the app has found your location, simply scroll down to the bottom bar and you'll see an icon labeled Explore. Oftentimes, this tab will be activated by default. Once you've clicked on it, you can scroll through a ton of different points of interest and even add your own experiences for future residents or visitors. Even if you've lived in the same place for a long time, the Explore tab can probably introduce you to a hidden gem you never knew existed in the first place!



8 Google Maps Features That Will Change How You Use The App - SlashGear? ›

Set route options: When you use Google Maps to navigate to a place, you can pick your route preferences. Learn how to avoid tolls, ferries, and highways. Explore in Street View: You can get photos of the places you visit and explore the area up close. Learn how to use Street View.

What are the special features of Google Maps? ›

Set route options: When you use Google Maps to navigate to a place, you can pick your route preferences. Learn how to avoid tolls, ferries, and highways. Explore in Street View: You can get photos of the places you visit and explore the area up close. Learn how to use Street View.

What are the new features of Google Maps 2023? ›

The new feature, which Google calls Immersive View for routes, was announced at Google I/O 2023 on Wednesday. Immersive View currently offers a 3D view of a place and adds information like weather or traffic to give you a better idea of what's going on at that location.

What new features can be added to Google Maps? ›

New Google Maps features including immersive view, Live view updates, electric vehicle charging tools and glanceable directions.

How is Google Maps go different? ›

Google Maps Go is pre-installed on Android Oreo (Go edition) devices. It's also available on the Play Store. Google Maps Go is separate from the Google Maps app. It's designed to run quickly and smoothly on devices with limited memory.

What are three important features that Maps have? ›

Some common features of maps include scale, symbols, and grids. All maps are scale models of reality. A map's scale indicates the relationship between the distances on the map and the actual distances on Earth.

What are the advantages of Google Maps? ›

Advantages of Google Maps:

Helps people find your business. Allows people to quickly contact your business. Encourages people to visit your website or location. Displays your business with images.

What is the new Google Maps? ›

Google uses AI to combine its Street View and aerial images together to create 3D models within its Maps app. The idea is to make it feel like you're already at the location you're planning to visit before you even go -- for instance, a restaurant or a neighborhood.

What is Google map update? ›

Map data provided by Google is updated every second: information on organizations, ratings, traffic congestion and other events.

How often does Google map change? ›

Typically, Google's satellite image database updates constantly – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. However, you won't usually see live changes or updates reflect on a regular basis. There may be a delay of months, or often times, years before the satellite images reflect exactly what the location looks like in reality.

How does Google map update Street View? ›

Street View Imagery is Not Real Time

Street View imagery shows only what our cameras were able to see on the day that they passed by the location. Afterwards, it takes months to process them. This means that content you see could be anywhere from a few months to a few years old.

Can we customize Google map? ›

In the Google Cloud Console, go to the Map Styles page. Click Create Style, and choose the Google Map radio button. Click Save. In the Save and Publish Map dialog, enter a map name and optional description, and click Save.

What is more accurate than Google Maps? ›

Google Maps is useful, powerful, accurate, and easy to use. But if you want to keep your privacy, you should avoid it. OsmAnd, Sygic Maps, Apple Maps, HERE WeGo, and Navmii may not be perfect, but they are certainly great alternatives.

Does Google Maps actually use GPS? ›

The application uses an Internet connection to a GPS navigation system to provide turn-by-turn voice-guided instructions on how to arrive at a given destination. The application requires connection to Internet data (e.g. 3G, 4G, 5G, WiFi, etc.) and normally uses a GPS satellite connection to determine its location.

Does Google Maps track everywhere you go? ›

You can find how far you've traveled and the way that you traveled, such as walking, biking, driving, or on public transport. Timeline measures distances in miles or kilometers is based on your country or region. On your computer, open Google Maps.

What is the most important map feature? ›

Data Frame

This section is the most important and central focus of the map document. In this map example, the data frame contains a map of the continental United States showing historical grassland areas. The data frame, is also referred to as the map frame, is where the actual map data is displayed.

What are the 7 important components of a map? ›

A map should include the following components namely, the title, scale, direction, grid system, projection, legend, conventional signs and symbols.

What does Google Maps work? ›

Google uses a combination of satellite imagery, aerial photography, street maps, 360° panoramic views of streets, and GIS data to provide up-to-date, comprehensive digital maps for route planning and travel via foot, car, bicycle, air or public transit.

Can Google Maps show speed? ›

The addition of a speedometer in your navigation shows you how fast you're driving on the road. Important: Speedometers shown in the Google Maps app are for informational use only. Make sure to use your vehicles's speedometer to confirm your actual driving speed.

What are the different Google Maps? ›

ROADMAP (normal, default 2D map) SATELLITE (photographic map) HYBRID (photographic map + roads and city names) TERRAIN (map with mountains, rivers, etc.)

How accurate is Google Maps? ›

GPS: Maps uses satellites to know your location up to around 20 meters. When you're inside buildings or underground, the GPS is sometimes inaccurate. Wi-Fi: The location of nearby Wi-Fi networks helps Maps know where you are. Cell tower: Your connection to mobile data can be accurate up to a few thousand meters.

How does Google Street View work? ›

Google collects Street View imagery by driving, pedaling, sailing and walking around and capturing imagery with special cameras that simultaneously collect images in multiple directions. The images are later overlapped and stitched together into a single 360-degree image.

How far does Google Maps go back? ›

Google Maps stores every image taken of that location, dating back to 2007 -- you just need to know how to find them. Interested in seeing what your home looked like over a decade ago? We'll show you how to use Google Map's time-travel feature on your phone and desktop.

How real time is Google Earth? ›

You can see a large collection of imagery in Google Earth, including satellite, aerial, 3D, and Street View images. Images are collected over time from providers and platforms. Images aren't in real time, so you won't see live changes.

How often does Google do Street View? ›

Google attempts to take fresh Street View images in major cities once a year. In less populated areas, new images should be expected every three years. Google doesn't take requests to update Street View imagery.

How do I view live satellites on Google Maps? ›

Navigate with Live View
  1. On your Android phone or tablet, open the Google Maps app .
  2. In the search bar, enter a destination or tap it on the map.
  3. Tap Directions .
  4. Above the map in the travel mode toolbar, tap Walking .
  5. In the bottom center, tap Live View .

Why is house blurred on Google Street View? ›

With a blurred house on Street View, strangers can't use Google Maps to look at your property. This is quite a useful option, as it limits what potential intruders, thieves, or con artists can learn about you.

Why did Google Maps blur my house? ›

The blurred-out houses mean that the home's resident has taken the extra steps to ensure their property is not able to be gazed upon in advanced detail via Google Maps, Look Around, or Google Earth.

How do I track a car using Google Maps? ›

Find where you're parked
  1. On your Android phone or tablet, open the Google Maps app .
  2. Tap the search bar Parking location.
  3. On the bottom, tap Directions .

How to zoom in Google map Android Studio? ›

Zoom in the map
  1. On your Android phone or tablet, open the Google Maps app .
  2. Double tap a spot on the map, and then: Drag down to zoom in. Drag up to zoom out.

How do I edit places in Google Earth? ›

To edit a placemark's location, name, or description, right-click on the placemark in the 3D viewer or in the Places panel, and choose Properties (on a PC) or Get Info (on a Mac). Click-and-drag the icon to change the location, or edit the name and description and click OK.

How long is the animate camera in Google Maps? ›

map. animateCamera(CameraUpdateFactory. zoomIn()); // Zoom out to zoom level 10, animating with a duration of 2 seconds.

How do I create an interactive map in Google Maps? ›

On your computer, sign in to My Maps. Click Create a new map. Go to the top left and click "Untitled map." Give your map a name and description.

How do I make Google Maps look better? ›

Create your own custom styles for roads, labels or geometry

Step 1 Go to Add or Edit Map and scroll down to the 'Map Style Setting' section. Step 2 Select any Feature Type, Element type, and color. Feature Type is used to select the geographical objects on the map, such as the road, the water, and the parks.

Which Google map is the best? ›

The Best Map Online and 12 Best Google Maps Alternatives in 2021
  • TomTom.
  • Rand McNally.
  • Maps.me.
  • OpenStreetMap and OsmAnd.
  • Apple Maps.
  • Waze.
  • Pocket Earth.
  • Citymapper.
Feb 2, 2021

Which map is more accurate? ›

View the world in correct proportions with this map. You may not know this, but the world map you've been using since, say, kindergarten, is pretty wonky. The Mercator projection map is the most popular, but it is also riddled with inaccuracies.

Which is better GPS or Google Maps? ›

GPS is often used for outdoor activities, such as hiking and driving because it can work without an internet connection. Google Maps is often used for urban navigation and can provide real-time traffic updates and alternative routes. It can show your speed on the screen because it gets the speed from the built-in GPS.

Who runs Google Maps? ›

As of 2020, Google Maps was being used by over one billion people every month around the world. Google Maps began as a C++ desktop program developed by brothers Lars and Jens Rasmussen at Where 2 Technologies. In October 2004, the company was acquired by Google, which converted it into a web application.

What algorithm does Google Maps use? ›

Google Map is based on this algorithm, Dijkstra's Algorithm which was invented by Edsger W. Dijkstra, Dutch essayist DescriptionEdsger Wybe Dijkstra was a Dutch systems scientist, programmer, software engineer, science essayist, and pioneer in computing science.

Why does Google Maps say somewhere I wasn t? ›

Google Maps timeline is not 100% accurate it often goes wrong. Google Maps estimates where you are from sources like: GPS: This uses satellites and knows your location up to around 20 meters. Note: When you're inside buildings or underground, the GPS is sometimes inaccurate.

How do I stop people from tracking me on Google Maps? ›

Go to the "Location History" section of your Google Account. Choose whether your account or your devices can report Location History to Google. Your account and all devices: At the top, turn Location History on or off. Only a certain device: Under "This device" or "Devices on this account," turn the device on or off.

Can someone hide their location on Google Maps? ›

Turn on someone's location you've hidden

On your Android phone or tablet, open the Google Maps app​ . Tap your profile picture or initial Location sharing More . Tap Hidden from map More Show on map.

Are my Google Maps private? ›

All maps are private by default — only you as the creator of the map can view or edit it. Below you'll learn how to make the map public and embed it on your website, as well as how to collaborate on your map with colleagues.

How do I turn on immersive view on Google Maps? ›

How to use Immersive View in Google Maps
  1. Ensure your Google Maps app is updated to the latest version.
  2. Open Google Maps.
  3. Search for a landmark in one of the supported cities (e.g. Big Ben for London)
  4. Tap the Immersive View card that pops up at the bottom-left.
May 11, 2023

Where is Google 2023? ›

Google I/O 2023 will take place at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, California.

Did they update Google Maps? ›

The map is updated constantly–literally, every second of every day! We're constantly collecting new information about the world, whether from satellite imagery and Street View cars, or Google Maps users and local business owners, and using that information to update the map.

What cities are getting immersive view on Google Maps? ›

Immersive View for Routes will start to roll out in the coming months in 15 cities, including Amsterdam, Berlin, Dublin, Florence, Las Vegas, London, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Paris, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle, Tokyo and Venice. The feature will roll out on both Android and iOS.

How do I turn on 3D mode in Google Maps? ›

Show 3D imagery
  1. On your Android phone or tablet, open the Google Earth app. .
  2. Tap Map Style. .
  3. Turn Enable 3D buildings on or off.

How do I make Google Maps VR? ›

How to use Google Maps street view in VR Mode
  1. 1) Update your Google Map application on your smartphone.
  2. 2) Search for Locations with Street View- Eg- London Eye, Burj Dubai, Stonehenge (UK) etc.
  3. 3) Scroll down on the location and click “Street View” on Google Maps or you could click “See Inside”

What year did Google take off? ›

Google's initial public offering (IPO) took place on August 19, 2004. At IPO, the company offered 19,605,052 shares at a price of $85 per share. The sale of $1.67 billion gave Google a market capitalization of more than $23 billion.

What is the Google update 2023? ›

Google's March 2023 Broad Core Update

The March 2023 core update will target all content types within all regions and languages to promote or reward high-quality or high-value web pages. According to Google, nothing within this (or any) core update targets specific pages or sites.

Is Google Maps no longer have Street View? ›

From 21 March 2023, Google will be removing their StreetView App for Android and Apple devices. This App has popular features that only exist within the App and are not duplicated anywhere else. By removing this App, Google are also removing these features.

How often does Google Earth Street View update? ›

Street View Imagery is Not Real Time

Afterwards, it takes months to process them. This means that content you see could be anywhere from a few months to a few years old. In some locations where we have collected imagery over many years, you may also be able to view changes to that imagery in our Time Machine function.

What cities are 3D in Google Maps? ›

Google has announced that its 3D Immersive View feature for Google Maps is now rolling out for users in London, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Tokyo. It will also be available in Amsterdam, Dublin, Florence and Venice in the coming months.

What is the most viewed place on Google Maps? ›

It is located in Saudi Arabia. Masjid al-Haram, also known as the Great Mosque of Mecca, is the most reviewed place on Google maps. And we can only expect that number to rise well past 300,000 in the near future.


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