We know that Google Maps is the most widely used map app across the world. What makes Google popular is the incredible ease of use and user friendliness it offers. After all, that’s what Google is all about – making things easy for us. The company has been offering location and navigation services for quite a while.
Even when smartphones were not as popular, I used to have some fun exploring different parts of the world on Google Earth. Now that I have a really smart phone, I can do so much more with Maps than before. Whenever I am lost, Maps guides and navigates me to my destination. But, do you know Google Maps can do a lot more for you than just simple navigation? It has some really cool features most users haven’t explored yet. In this article, we take a look at 10 Google Maps tricks you would love to know.
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Find Less Tolls on the Way
If you are thinking about a long trip by road, there is a good chance you will run into many tolls. If it’s a budget trip, the tolls can dent your finances significantly. Thankfully, Google Maps lets you discover and drive on the roads that have fewest tolls. Of course, there will be some routes on which you will not be able to avoid the tolls. But, you can save a great deal of money if you can avoid as many tolls as possible. You also need to keep in mind that trying to avoid tolls does end up in long detours. You would have spent same or more on fuel and driven more than you were supposed to. Here is how you can use this option.
- Look up for your destination on Google Map like normal
- Tap ‘Directions’ button on the bottom right
- Tap ‘Route info’ and Google Map will tell you if the opted route has tolls
- Don’t tap ‘Start’ yet. Instead, press the back button and return to the map
- Tap menu icon on the top right (three dots)
- Tap ‘Route options’
- Check ‘Avoid tolls’ on the list and tap ‘Done’
Now, recheck the route info. You will see that Google Maps has rerouted the destination with no or fewer tolls.
Add Stops for Detours
Most people think that Google Maps is just about finding the best possible route from one point to another. But, that’s not the case. What if you need to take multiple detours before arriving at the intended destination? For instance, you are headed to a friend’s place for a party and you need to pick a case of beer. One option is to set the direction from your current location to the liquor store and once you have picked up the beer change the destination again to your friend’s house. This doesn’t sound very convenient, especially when there are multiple detours. The good news is, Google Map allows you to add multiple tops between your current location and destination. You don’t have to change it manually everytime. Here is how you can do it:
- Enter the destination on Google Map where you ought to be ultimately (friend’s house in our example)
- Tap ‘Directions’ button on the bottom right
- Don’t hit ‘Start’ yet. Instead, tap the menu on the top right (three dots)
- Select ‘Add stop’ from the pop-up list
- Now you can add as many stops as you want. You don’t necessarily have to enter the detour route in the same order in which you will take it. You can rearrange it later.
- Tap ‘Done’
- Tap ‘Start’ on the bottom right to get directions
Share Your Location on the Real Time Basis
Picture this! You are traveling to a place you believe may not exactly be the safest. It is night and you are feeling a little insecure. What you would like is someone you trust to be able to track your movements all the time and see your location in the real-time. Well, you can do that with Google Maps. Here is how:
- Tap the Hamburger menu on the top left (three horizontal lines vertically placed one over the other)
- Tap ‘Share location’ from the list
- Tap ‘Get Started’ button
- On the subsequent screen, you can select a specific duration for which you want your location to be shared. You can also choose to share your location indefinitely until you switch it off manually
- Tap ‘Select People’ on the same screen
- Choose a contact from the location (one who has an email address updated) or enter an email address manually
- Tap ‘Share’ on the bottom right
This will let you share your location with others.
Save the Parking Location
It happens with me. A lot of times. I park my car somewhere and forget where I did it. And then, I have to spend a lot of time finding it. Once I thought someone stole my car because I was looking for it on a different side of the building. This happens to others as well, especially when they have parked the car in a large, open space. This could be easily avoided though and I wish I had known it sooner. Here is what you need to do:
- When you launch Google Maps a card appears by default with the options ‘Get Directions’ and ‘Quick Actions.’ In order to see the map in full screen, tap anywhere on the screen where you can see the map (tap on the screen above the card).
- Now tap on the tiny blue do that you see on the screen (blue dot is your current location)
- Select ‘Save your parking’ when you see the options slide out from the bottom. This saves your parking location
- You may tap ‘More info’ to modify it further
If you want more options, slide up right from the bottom. A new screen will slide up. Here, you can add the parking notes to easily identify the location when you are looking for the car. If the parking is charged on the hourly basis, you may even set a timer to be reminded. And, you can add an image as well to spot the location quickly the next time.
Total Traveled Distance
Google Maps has a Timeline option that tells you the total distance you have traveled. But, if you want more insights into your travels and more detailed info, you can use the Google Maps web client at www.google.com/maps. Here, you will be able to see average distance by day, total distance, and distance traveled by modes of transportation. Here is how you can use this feature:
- Open the web client and log in with your Google ID (the same ID which you are using with Google Maps)
- Click on the Hamburger menu
- Click ‘Your Timeline’ on the menu
- Click the Gear or Cog icon on the next screen (bottom right)
- Now click ‘Download a copy of all your data’ from the menu
- On the next page, ensure that ‘Location History’ is enabled. It must also be JSON format in the Details column
- Click ‘Next’
- Now click ‘Download’
- Now unzip the JSON.zip file you downloaded
- Upload the file at the following link https://kyleai.github.io/Google-Location-History-Total-Distance-Travelled/
Now you will see the detailed information pertaining to your travel history.
Know Where All You Have Been: Review Past Trips
If you would like to see all your past trips, Google will let you do that. This isn’t a feature you may use all the time or ever. But, just taking a look at the history of the trips is a bit of fun. Not only can you see the places you visited but also the transport mode you took. It even tells you the amount of time you spent at any place. Here is how you can see the history:
- Tap the Hamburger menu on the top left and select ‘Your timeline’ from the list
- You will be able to see the timeline of the current day
- To view the history for any other day, just tap the calendar icon on the top and choose the day
Please note that the Location History must be turned on, in order for Maps to record your history. To enable Location History, follow the steps below:
- Tap the Hamburger menu on the top left
- Scroll down and select ‘Settings’
- Select ‘Google location settings’ from the list on the next screen
- Tap ‘Google Location History’ under ‘Location Services’
- Check the box next to ‘On’
- If you have added more than one Google account on a device, tap the Triangle icon (pointing downward) on the top to choose the account for which you wish to turn Location History on.
Google Calendar Integration
If you have some place to be wouldn’t you the destination information is automatically added to Google Maps? Well, this is possible if you use Google Calendar. The events added to Google Calendar are synced with Google Maps. So, if you need to go someplace, you will have no need to enter it manually in Google Maps when the time comes. Of course, you must have an entry in Google Calendar for this feature to work. Here is what you can do:
- Open Google Maps and tap the hamburger menu
- Now select ‘Your Places’ on the menu
- Select the ‘Upcoming’ tab on the next screen
- Here, you will see the list of the locations you have added to Google Calendar. Just tap on one of the locations and Google Maps will do rest of the navigation for you
See How a Place Looked Like in the Past
This is quite like some time travel; only virtual though. If you want to find out how a place looked like sometimes in the past, you can use Google Map’s Street View feature. But, you can’t do this from the app; it’s not been integrated with Google Map apps yet. You will need to use the Google Maps web client (www.google.com/maps). Follow these steps:
- Open the web client and look up for the place you want to see the past looks of using the search bar
- On the lower right you should see the ‘Human’ icon (yellow colored). Drag this icon and drop it on the point in question
- Click the ‘History icon’
- A small window with a timeline slider will pop. The more you move the slider to the left the older the street view will become
Note: This may not work with all the locations
View Popular Places Nearby
You have just arrived in a new city and you don’t know where to go to have some fun. Well, Google Maps will help you out. It lets you discover new and fun places around. With this feature, you can be certain you will never miss out a great place. Follow the steps below:
- Launch Google Maps and tap above the Quick Actions card (in the map area)
- Tap the ‘Location’ button on the lower left
- Tap the blue-colored dot on the screen
- Tap ‘See places near you’ when the options slide up from the bottom
You will now be able to see the list of popular places near your current location. Tap on any place for Google to navigate it for you.
View Traffic Status in Real-Time
You step out of the house only to find yourself stuck in the traffic. This could be pretty annoying. Don’t you wish there was a way to keep an eye on the traffic conditions so that you could pick the most suitable time to leave the house? Fortunately, Google Maps shows the real-time traffic situation to the minute. In fact, you can even have Google Maps send regular notifications to you updating you on the traffic conditions.
To use this feature, tap the Hamburger menu and select ‘Traffic’ from the list. The map color codes the route with different colors. Each color depicts different traffic status. Green means traffic is light. Orange means a little thick but usually moving traffic. Red color means thick and heavy traffic.
Google Maps Tricks- The Conclusion
So, guys, these were some of the most popular Google maps tricks you should try yourself, you can amaze your friends as well using these tricks. Please share this article with your friends on social media and spread the word. For more updates, keep signing back to Bloomtimes. Have a great time.