February 7, 2020
Google Maps turns 15: Here are 15 tips to get the most out of the app
Google Maps turns 15 this week, and many of the 1 billion-plus people who turn to Google's app globally each month do so for more than navigation guidance.
Chances are, you're among them, even if most of your time in Maps is spent figuring out how to get from point A to point B.
Google changed the Google Maps icon in fact to emphasize the evolution of Maps. More than 220 countries have been mapped over the years, and Google says it has surfaced information about more than 200 million places and information.
As part of the birthday milestone, Google has refreshed the look of the iOS and Android versions of its Maps app, most notably through the five tabs that appear on the bottom of the screen; it used to have three.
You can tap the Explore tab for information and ratings and the Commute tab for traffic and travel times and such.
There's now a Saved button where you can review all the places you've been at or may want to go. You can also tap a Contribute tab to share what you know with others and an Updates tab to learn about trending spots from supposed experts.
Here's are 15 other tips from Google on things you can or will be able to do within Google Maps:
1. Translate place names and addresses
Tap the speaker icon that appears next to an address or place name, Google Maps will speak out loud in the local language.
2. Go private
Choosing Incognito Mode and Google won't save your Maps searches. The tradeoff is that you will lose out on some personalization. Separately, you can choose auto-delete controls within your Location History to save three or 18 months of data. Google says it will delete anything older than that automatically.
3. Avoid highways, tolls, ferries
In navigation mode, tap the three dots at the top right corner of the app and look for "Route options" to choose the route types you want to avoid.
4. Share your ETA and live location
Once you've started on your journey, tap the ^ button and then tap "Share trip progress" to do so with designated contacts.
5. Find a bike or scooter
You can find available bikes in real time in two dozen cities or enter a bike-share in the search bar. In more than 80 cities around the world, Google Maps can tell you if a Lime scooter is available, with an estimate on how much your ride will cost.
6. Charge your electric vehicle
In some places, you can also see the location and availability of charging stations for electric vehicles.
7. Know which way to walk
Arrows direct you which way to go when you use Google's Live View augmented reality feature. After choosing a destination, tap the Directions button, and the walking tab.
8. Travel through time
Take a peek at the past. Select a place in Google Maps on the desktop, and drag the yellow "pegman" figure into the picture. Click on the clock that appears in the top left hand corner to choose the frame.
9. Get flight information
Tap the three gray lines at the top left corner of the screen and tap Your Places. Then tap a "Reservations" tab to figure out if your plane is leaving on time. You can also use Maps in the terminal to locate nearby gates, lounges, restaurants and stores.
10. Remember where you parked
Tap the blue dot on the map and then tap "Save your parking." Meantime, before you even drive into an area, look for parking difficulty icons available for more than 50 cities.
11. Save time
Choose the Popular Times and Wait Times features to get a sense of how crowded a restaurant or other place you're headed to is; you might be better or elsewhere.
12. Is my train hotter or colder?
Last year, Google added crowdsourced data to help predict how crowded your bus or train or subway is likely to be at a particular time. Google is now adding new insights via Maps that may impact your commute. These include letting you know whether your train or bus is on the cooler or warmer side, whether certain transit systems have special women's sections or carriages, and whether passengers with special needs can board public transit with staff ready to help.
13. Order food
If you tap an "Order Online" button, you can choose pickup or delivery through certain eateries.
14. Add multiple stops
Tap the three dots, then "Route options" and then "Add stop." Google Maps will attempt to provide the fastest route between those stops.
15. Plan group activities
If you long-press anywhere on a map, you can add that place to a shortlist that you can share with friends on any messaging platform.
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