With These 33 Hacks, You Can Get The Most Out Of Google Maps


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Google Maps was released almost a decade ago and it has become a huge and instant success. Google further enhanced the app when they added Street View in 2007. This added a very powerful tool which enabled the users to take virtual tours of cities located far away in the world. But later on, many navigation apps were available on the mobile. Google has been tweaking its app since then to add more and more features and quality services.

Here are 33 amazing hacks that exist on Google Maps and you might be unaware of it.

The Power of Pegman

The small yellow person in the bottom right corner has a very amazing function. It is called Pegman and it can be dragged and dropped anywhere on the map. This will initiate the Street Wall which will let you have a virtual tour of places which are far away.

Add Multiple Destinations to Your Trip

Some trips are only from A to B. But there are times when you need to make some mid-trip stops at point C or D. In such case, Google Map can help you plan your trip manually. To add multiple destinations on Google Maps, press the + symbol on the web version and on the mobile app, three dots on the right corner of the app. The stops can also be reordered. However, this cannot work for the mass transit options.

Travel Through Time

Since the launch, Street View has gathered a lot of street view images. Google introduced a method for users to see how these views have changed over time. The “Time Travel” lets the user access four-dimensional cartographic information in the Street View with a single click. To activate the feature, click on the stopwatch icon in the top left corner of the Street View. Upon clicking the icon, it will open a sliding scale that will let you scroll through the Street Views over time. However, this feature is not available at all locations.

Get An Uber

Sharing ride services are becoming common and a major part of today’s transportation all over the world. Uber has integrated its services into the Google Maps app. To get an Uber, simply tap on the small figure of a man who is trying to hail a taxi.

The order cannot be completed through the Google Maps app but it will take you to the supplier’s platform to complete the order.

Find The Nearest Anything You’re Looking For

Thanks to the Google Maps hack, finding anything like nearest public amenities, petrol pumps etc can be found easily on the Google Maps app. Search for anything and the app will highlight the nearest ones to your current location. All you need to do is to allow Google to use your location.

Virtual 3D Tour of the City

Google Maps, Street View and Google Earth have become very integrated with the passage of time. If you flip from regular maps to Satellite mode, you will get a mix of Street View and bird’s eye satellite imagery. If you toggle the 3D icon on the right-hand side, you can take a virtual view of many locations in the world. Buildings can also be tapped on and identified. It also shows some more information if it exists in the Google’s data vault.

Measure The Distance

To measure the distance between different landmarks on Google Maps, you can either use Daft Logic’s or can even use Google Map’s built-in feature as well. Click anywhere on the map and select “Measure Distance”. Then click on the map and measure whichever distance you want to measure.

What’s Here?

If you are randomly scrolling the Google Maps and find something interesting, you can click on the “What’s here?” and get the information. Google Maps will then display an information card regarding all the information available on it. It is not very useful for major landmarks since they are labeled on the map anyway but can come in handy if you have spotted a less famous area or building.

Use “Nessy” For Mass Transit Suggestion

If you ask for directions between Fort Augustus and Urquhart Castle, the Google Maps show an interesting option. If you choose via mass transit and under “Route options” select “fewer transfers”, it shows an option to travel by Loch Ness Monster. Google Maps show that this trip via Nessy can be made in 24-minutes.

Street View Key Commands

You can also use your keyboard to navigate around with the Google Street View, apart from using your mouse. Following are the commands to remember,

  • Zoom in and out using + and – keys
  • Turn left or right using the left and right arrow key or A and D keys
  • Move forward and backward using the up and down key or W and S key
Check Out The Upcoming Events

Upcoming events for some locations can be previewed using the Google Maps. After finding the location you are looking for and gathering information, if present, all the information found is displayed on the Google Maps. This is applicable for businesses like concert halls, cinemas, and similar places.

Offline Maps

This Google Map hack can save you if you are in an area with poor network coverage. Once the route is sorted out, you can save it in your device to use it offline as well. When you have sorted out the directions for your route, type “OK maps” in the search bar. This will save the map in the device and will enable it to be used when offline.

Search For Flights

Depending on the location and destination, Google Maps might be helpful to search flights for you. This hack can come in handy for those who might be planning a long distance trip or a vacation. After adding starting and ending location on the Google Maps, it will give a direct link to the directions to help search for flights. It is also helpful to find out the estimated flight timings between two cities.

Help To Keep Google Maps Relevant

You can add a new location or spot an obvious error in the Google Maps, as long as the moderator approves the amendment or the addition that you have made.

To add a new location, click on the menu and scroll to “Add a missing place”. The app will guide you through the process itself.

Similarly, you can make edits in the map by clicking on “Suggest an edit” on the information page for a location. Since the edits are reviewed by the moderator so the ‘funny’ pranks can never make their way to the finalized Google Maps.

Search Smart

Google’s services are becoming more and more integrated with time. Google Maps is no exception so changes are also made to it. You can ask google for suggestions if you are stuck for ideas. Make a general search like ‘nice restaurant near Eiffel Tower’ and Google will suggest you locations for consideration.

Customize Your Route

A very nice hack of Google Map is being able to customize or alter the plotted course. This is useful in cities where there are several routes that you can take to get from A to B. By altering the route, you can avoid the traffic hotspots, construction areas. Simply hover your mouse over the blue route or part of the route which you want to change. Click and drag the white dot and change the route as per your liking.

Embed Maps On Your Website/Blog

Once you have found the right map of your location, click on the options button on the left of the search bar. From the pop-up menu, select “Share or embed map”. This gives an option to share the link or embed the map into your site. Copy and paste the link and you will have a nice map on your website.

Manage Your Google Map History

Google Maps store your location history by default and in fact, tracks you when you are logged into your account. It is sometimes useful and sometimes a little creepy as if you were being stalked. You can also disable the feature in the Google’s Account History which allows you to toggle Google data gathering services on and off.

Fly by Dragon

If Loch Ness monster is not your thing then you can take a ride on a dragon, using Google Map Ester Egg, to travel from one place to another. Ask for directions between Mount Snowden (North Wales) and the Brecon Beacons (South Wales) by using mass transit option. It will display an option to travel via Dragon and the estimated time will be almost 37 minutes to complete the trip.

Save A Place For Later

If you discover a cool place on the Google Maps you can save it for the future reference. Search for the locations on Google Maps and click on the ‘Save’ button on the location’s business card. All the saved places are cataloged as starred locations on the maps and can be accessed by clicking ‘Your Places’ from Google Maps menu.

Quick Launch Navigation

Google’s turn by turn navigation is among the best features of the app. It usually takes a few button presses to launch it but there is another quick way to do it as well. Hold down the blue transportation icon on the bottom left corner of the app and launch the navigation quickly. This appears as a car, train, bicycle or a person on foot, depending on what the app finds more appropriate.

Send Directions From Desktop To Your Device

If you like planning your journey using your desktop instead of your smart device then this hack is for you. You can send your carefully laid plans to your phone from the desktop version of Google Maps. For this, you need to sign in to your Google Account and once you have planned and sketched out your route, you can select the option ‘Send directions to your phone’.

Earn Free Online Storage

Google rewards you if you review places that you have visited on Google Maps. This is a part of the Local Guide Initiative that relies completely on the locals to give the on ground information.

On providing every review you earn some points. These points can then be redeemed for things like early access to new Google products or features, participation in exclusive workshops, do hangouts or get 1TB of free Google Drive storage for one year. To get large online storage, you need to reach level 4 which requires almost 200 points.

Control Google Maps With Voice

Driving and typing are both unsafe and illegal. For this reason, Google Maps comes equipped with voice command. You can simply tap on the microphone and ask things like ‘What’s my ETA?’ or ‘Where do I turn next?’ You can also mute and unmute the navigator’s voice, ask for another route or toggle between satellite or traffic, using the voice command alone.

One-Handed Zoom And Scroll

Pinch to zoom is a little old for most of us now and it also requires two hands to use it. On the mobile app of Google Maps, you can zoom and scroll using one hand. You can double tap and keep your finger pressed against the screen so that you can zoom in and out by sliding up and down.

You can twist your fingers to rotate the map and can reset the map to North by tapping the compass. You can tilt the map by swiping two fingers up.

Single Click Directions

It’s pretty easy to get the directions by simply using the search bar, but there is another useful method to find a place if you don’t know the name or street of the location. You can scroll near that location, right click on the map. This will open a pull-down menu which will give you the option to find the directions to and from that very point.

Nation-Specific Google Maps

Google has versions which are tailored to specific countries which include multiple languages as well. These variants of Google can be viewed by changing the domain in the URL google.com/maps for the US lets say, Google defaults its domain based on the current IP of the user. Whichever domain you are using, you can search any location, in various languages.

Indoor Directions

Indoor directions have also been integrated on the Google Maps. Initially, it was available on the mobile version only but it has been expanded to the web version as well. This is not available in all the locations, however, it comes handy if you can find a building with the indoor directions.

Find & Explore Tardis

If you have seen Dr. Who will be familiar with the fact that it is much much larger on the inside than it is on the outside. This Easter Egg on google maps lets you imagine how much. Once you find the Tardis on the London Street, you can go inside using the Street View to see the interior.

Enable Disable ‘Lite Mode’

When Google determines that your computer cannot handle all the features it automatically sends you to Lite Mode. This means a lot of the features of Google Maps like 3D Earth view will become disabled. You will know that you are running in Lite Mode since you will see a bolt icon on the bottom right of the screen. You can return to the normal Google Maps by clicking on the bolt. Lite Mode can also be used to save the resources of the system.

Use Maps To Find Your Car

This hack will save you a lot of effort to find your car. When you have parked the car, tap on the light blue dot of your location. Android users have access to some other features as well. They can use the pop-up screen and leave a parking note. A meter timer can also be set which can notify you when your parking time is up.

Turn Pegman Into a UFO

If you drag and drop your Pegman over Area 51 in Nevada he/she will change the form right in front of you. Not a very useful feature, but it is just fun to play with it.

Another bonus feature which is available in this week is the Mario Kart to assist on the Google Maps. This feature is available to celebrate the ‘Mario Day’.

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