10 Features of Google Maps You Probably didn’t Know

Google Maps is one of the applications we frequently use for getting directions or even to virtually visit an area that is far away.

However, Google Maps can do more than you realize. It can be relied upon to keep track of your car parking spot, look up the prices of gas and verify whether the gasoline station is operational or not, and even go back to the past, kind of.

To learn how you can utilize these features and much more, take a look at the list below of 10 cool things you didn’t have known Google Maps could do.

10 Features of Google Maps You Probably didn't Know


1. Keep Track of Where You’ve Parked Your Car with Google Maps

Everyone who drives a vehicle often has, at some point in time, left it parked in a place, only to forget the location. Fortunately, Google Maps can help you avoid putting off your vehicle by allowing you to save the location temporarily and return to it in the future.

Once you’ve secured your car and are ready to go, launch Google Maps on your phone and then press the red dot which marks your current location. You’ll be able to access an options menu. There’s a choice for “Save parking” Click this and your parking spot will be saved on Google Maps.

If you require assistance later getting to your car, use Google Maps, tap in the search bar, then select the save location option for directions.

If you’re able to find the return to your car without the need for directions, you can erase this saved marker by pressing on it, then selecting More info > Clear to erase it.

2. Make use of Google Maps offline

If you’d like to keep Google Maps burning through your phone’s memory – or if you’re traveling in another country and don’t want to pay high data-roaming charges – there’s a way for you to use Google Maps offline. It will not provide the same live updates regarding traffic, or how busy a location is however, you’ll be able to get directions and get to your destination. This requires some preparation for you, however.

Launch Google Maps. Open the Google Maps app on your iPhone or Android phone, and then tap your profile image on the right-hand side of the screen. On this menu, you’ll notice an option for offline maps’. Tap it, and you’ll look up any maps that you downloaded, or Select Your Own Map. Select the latter option, using the same pinch-and-drag control that you have for the regular maps on Google Maps you can navigate the map, and then highlight the area you’d like to save offline maps of. After selecting the area, click Download, and you’re set to go. Next time you connect to Wi-Fi, the map will be downloaded.

It’s important to note that storing maps offline can eat the storage space on your phone and data, so do not download more maps than you’ll require if you’re running out of space.

3. Find out the price of gas with Google Maps

Another thing that people have had to do is fill up at a station and then drive by a different station fifteen minutes later only to discover that the gas is less expensive there. Fortunately, Google Maps can help to ensure that you get the most price for your gas.

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If you launch the application on your smartphone and then search the app, you’ll see quick-search buttons that include options such as Hotels, Restaurants, and Groceries along with others. Click the Gas option and all of the gas stations in the area will show on the map as well as the cost they charge for fuel. You can filter the results to see if a station is open, or if it’s wheelchair-accessible.

The feature is currently restricted to the US but there aren’t many gas stations that list their prices. However, this tool will give you peace of mind knowing that you’re paying the cheapest price for gas.

4. Take the last train or bus back home using Google Maps

This is one that we’ve listed on this list the most often, as it’s extremely useful in aiding in planning trips that may involve us heading home late into the night.

You may already be aware the fact that Google Maps offers public transport information that tells you in general terms the times that buses and trains depart or arrive at specific places. It also informs you when the last buses or trains operate so that you are able to reach the bus or train station stop on time.

To find out the date that the bus or train took the final train (or bus) home , visit Google Maps and search for directions between the two destinations you’re in between. After that, change to ‘Public transport’. There will be a button that says ‘Leave now in the middle of a down arrow. If you tap this, you’ll be presented with the options to choose ‘Depart from an earlier time’, ‘Arrive at the time’, and ‘Last available’. Select the last option, and you’ll get information on the most recent trains or buses that you could get before you’re left stuck.

However useful this tool can be we’d advise that you should take its suggestions with some caution. Although Google Maps is generally very precise, its public transport results could be flawed We’ve been snared because it didn’t warn us of service interruptions that could be last minute, for instance.

What we prefer to do is utilize the timing that the train left, then search for alternatives that leave an hour or so prior to. So you’ll make sure that you’re getting the most enjoyment from your evening out, but you won’t have to locate a spot to sleep in the middle of the night. In case you do miss this bus or train earlier then you’ll have two or three fallbacks to count on.

5. Calculate Distance using Google Maps

Have you ever wanted to find out the distance from one point to another, Google Maps can tell you the distance between two locations. It is easy to determine the distance between two locations, or the route that has several points on the surface of the Earth.

If you’re using an old-fashioned desktop PC or smartphone, the procedure is incredibly easy. If you’re using the PC click on the right-click icon at your first location and choose “Measure distance” from the menu. Next, click to add several points to determine their distance. If you’re using a smartphone simply tap on the point in order to create a marker then tap on the marker and select ‘Measure distance’ from the menu. Need help? Learn how to calculate distances on Google Maps for more detailed assistance.

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This tool is useful because it can not only help answer questions like “What distance would you need to travel to get between TechRadar’s various offices? (answer more than 21,500 km / 13,000 miles) However, it also can assist you in planning your next trip. If you’re planning to travel around Rome however, some of the people in your group aren’t able to go for long distances in one day, make use of this tool to determine the best route for your trip or if you’ll have to spread your journey over several days or take public transport.

6. Note Down Your Travels on Google Maps

Based on your preferences, Google Maps won’t only keep track of the places you’ve been to, but also the directions, and saves spots such as your office, home, and car parking spaces It can also keep track of you wherever you move.

On the other side, the tool is very useful. It can be used with the Google Maps Timeline to remember places you went to on holidays or keep track of the name of a place you dined at recently. If, however, you didn’t know that the app might monitor your movements (and that you have given the app permission to track you) you could be somewhat confused.

To turn off this feature You must first start your Timeline page. You tap on the profile picture and select Your Timeline within the Google Maps application. You will then need to start the menu by clicking the icon with three dots located in the upper right part of the display. There you can switch Location History on and off and delete all of the information from your Location History, or delete the information from the dates you choose to delete. You can also decide to have your history of location be deleted automatically after a specified amount of time.

7. Follow Your Friends using Google Maps

As per Google Maps is following your theme as the previous post The app can also be used to keep track of your friends, but it’s not as sinister as it appears initially.

Instead of having the service do this for you the friends must provide their addresses to you by hand. Once they’ve done this access to their location, you can use Google Maps to easily find the location of your friends when you meet up.

To get this set up to set up, your friend has to launch Google Maps on their phone then tap on their profile Picture and then choose the option Location Sharing in the drop-down menu. If they tap the Share button, Google Maps will open their contacts, and let them choose whom they would like to share their location with

They might have to modify their settings for a location to allow this, however after they’ve shared their location, you’ll be notified of where your friend’s location during the time they’re sharing their location. You’ll be able to view their remaining battery life. When you’ve connected with the other person, location-sharing can be disabled by returning back to Google Maps and hitting the stop button at the bottom right-hand corner of the “Location sharing screen.

8. Go Back in time with Google Maps Street View

It’s likely that some of you would love to go back to when you didn’t realize that Google Maps was tracking you or, at the very least, return to turn it off sooner. We can’t help you, but If you’re willing to go back in time to Google Maps it can allow you to look at what the area used to look like in the past.

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On your desktop, all you have to do is to open Street View and you will find the date that the image you are viewing is in the top left corner. When you click on this date, you will be able to scroll back in time to view what a similar spot looked at different times over the past decade. If you’re using Google Maps, the Google Maps smartphone app, the procedure is similar. Enter Street view, after which look out for the menu pull-out on the lower right of the screen. click ‘See other dates’. Then you should be able to go back in time.

The function is not as extensive but you are able to only go back to the time the point that the Google Street View vehicle has been through the area. Certain places, like Times Square in New York, is accessible at more than a dozen different dates, while this location located in Yorkshire Dales in the UK has been visited only once. Yorkshire Dales in the UK has been only visited by Google only once, as early as 2009.

9. Make Your Personal Google Maps Map

When you’re next planning a trip with a group of friends, we recommend using the feature for custom maps inside Google Maps to make things simpler. It lets you mark various locations as well as group markers together and even share the map with other people so that they can also create your own marker. With this tool, you can identify the locations you want to go during your trip and then plan the best locations for groups to visit in the same day, to make the most value from your trip.

To access the feature, you’ll need to open Google Maps on your PC Click the menu button located in the upper-left right-hand corner (the three vertical lines) Then, click “Your Places”. From there, navigate over to Maps and click Make a Map at the end (or select the map you’ve already created). If you’d like to include your family or friends, utilize the Share option to join to your list of collaborators.

The layout might appear a bit intimidating initially but the best method to master it is to really get into it and begin placing markers on the places you’d like to go.

10. Make use of AR Explore the entire world with Google Maps

As you travel from one location to the next using Google Maps have you ever wondered about what the architecture you pass by has in common? Then, Live View is there to answer your questions and perhaps assist you in finding hidden treasures in your hometown city.

If you search for walking directions on Google Maps you can choose Live View, an AR version of the app that doesn’t only provides you with directions but also examines the area around you to provide more information about the locations you pass.

With Live View, you can find cafes, stores, and restaurants that you would otherwise have lost on the route to your destination along with information about opening hours and customer reviews. It will also highlight ATMs and landmarks.

Furthermore, for selected areas located in Barcelona, Frankfurt, London, New York, Paris, Sydney, and Taipei (new locations are expected for addition in the next few months) you can utilize Live View to help you discover the indoors. It is possible to look up stores at the shopping mall or find directions to an airport if you’re trying to locate a restroom or taxi stand.

Sunil Kumar writes about smartphones and laptops for Gadgets360TechNews, out of Delhi. He is the Deputy Editor (Reviews) at Gadgets360TechNews. He has frequently written about the smartphone and PC industry and also has an interest in photography.

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