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10 ways to better use the Google Maps app

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Do you use Google Maps on your phone or tablet? Of course you do. But if you’re anything like me, you probably install the updates, skip over the details, and continue to use the app like nothing ever happened. That’s bad. You see, Google Maps is constantly changing, and keeping up with the latest features can save you lots of time in the long run. Here are our 10 favorite shortcuts for the latest version.

And in case you’re wondering, all of these tips (except the last one) apply to both the iOS and Android versions of Google Maps, and several of them were shared in a blog post today from the Google Maps team:

  1. Save addresses for faster directions
    If you use Google Maps for directions, it makes sense to store your home and work addresses so you don’t need to reenter them all the time. To do this, tap the person icon in the right hand corner of the Search bar. You can always edit your addresses later by pulling out the settings tab at the bottom left corner of the screen.
  2. Drop a pin to see the street
    Street view is more fun on a desktop, but it works surprisingly well on your phone. Just press and hold the area you want to see on the map to drop a pin. From there you’ll be given the option to enter street view, get directions, or share the location.
  3. Start GPS navigation in seconds
    Select where you want to go, then hold your finger in that spot to drop a pin. When you do this, a transportation icon will appear in the bottom right corner of your screen. Tap and hold it to activate turn-by-turn GPS navigation.
  4. More ways to zoom
    You can still pinch to zoom. But now you can also double-tap the map, hold you finger down, then scroll or down. It sounds a little weird, but it actually feels pretty intuitive.
  5. See a list instead of a map
    Sometimes it’s easier to see a list of nearby places rather than a mass of dots scattered across a map. To see a list of your search results, type a search, then tap on the list view icon on the right hand side of the bar.
  6. Get more information about a business
    Tap on a business, then swipe the info sheet at the bottom of the screen up or down to learn more about it. Swiping left or right will show you similar places nearby.
  7. Save a place for later
    Have you ever walked by a place and made a mental note to check it out later? Now you can Google Maps do that for you. Just pull up the info sheet for the location you’re at and tap save. To find the location later, tap on the person icon in the upper right hand corner and scroll down to your saved places.
  8. Let Google figure out what you should do
    Not sure what to do with your day? Tap on the search bar, then hit Explore, and Google will come up with recommendations for nearby hotels, shops, restauarants, and things to do.
  9. Rate your favorite spots
    Are you the Yelping type? Well, as long as you have a Google+ account you can start rating your favorite (and least favorite) places on Google as well. When you pull up the info sheet for a location, just scroll down to “Rate and Review,” where you can assign a star rating and write a review.
  10. Go offline
    (This tip is limited to Android right now, but Google claims it’s coming soon to iOS. You can use this tip in the meantime as a workaround.) If you want to make sure you can access a map no matter what, open the map you plan to use while you’re still somewhere with a good connection. Then tap the search box, scroll all the way up past the suggestions, and select “Make this map area available offline.”

This post was updated at 9:44pm to note that the Google Maps team shared several of these tips in a blog post Monday.

5 Responses to “10 ways to better use the Google Maps app”

  1. Kathleen

    Wah. Where are My Maps from the website? And then on the Google Earth app, you can get your My Maps but heaven help you if you want to get directions to any of those points you took such care in adding.

  2. mark colen

    the best free offline maps is (rmaps).
    first, you will need to
    download (mobile atlas creator version 1.8) on your pc, which allow you
    to download google maps of any where and any size. unlimited. note:
    select map source (google maps). zoom level (17 is good for cities).
    atlas settings (format: RMaps SQLite). then create it.
    then, insall (rmaps) on phone.
    paste the saved maps the (phone memory> rmaps> maps). then open
    rmaps>settings>user defined maps> select the maps.
    it work great. i have all europe (google maps) saved on my phone. enjoy.

  3. Rick Sea

    First time I have ever written a review about anything (app or otherwise), as a mobile professional, I rely heavily on my google maps. Unfortunately this updated map is far inferior of it’s predecessor. With the previous version I could at a glance see my route and be informed as to where the traffic lies (including color codes for light to heavy traffic), now I have to tap the screen several times to reveal this information. Previous app, I could swipe to the right and access addresses stored in my phone, this is no longer exist. Previous app, I could input my destination and app would begin, now I have to not only input destination, but starting point as well…why?? (I would believe it’s obvious my starting point is my current location). Previous app would automatically suggest my home address once I docked my phone after traveling to a destination. The bottom line, it appears I have to tap my screen far more times to access what the previous app conveniently offered. Lastly, this app is very unstable; after my update over a month ago – 95% of the time my app will crash during travel and I am forced to input all data again during my traveling…very frustrating. I have had to pull over a few times just to re-input my travel information. My only complaint I had with the previous app was there did not appear to be any reasoning for the list of previous destination. It would be nice if it stored previous destinations in the order traveled, so I could simple scroll to previous destination, as opposed to hoping that destination is listed…..ugggh!!!