Tooltip Gadgets

Google Maps gives you more than routes

A screenshot of Google Maps

A screenshot of Google Maps   | Photo Credit: mail

A guide to the five best Google Maps features you never use

1. Search along route

Maps has always offered useful suggestions depending on your location; a restaurant for when you’re hungry, a store for you to get shopping done, and even ATMs, for that precious currency restock run. What it can also do is provide the same info along a route that has been charted for navigation. Simply fire up Maps, enter your origin and destination, start navigation, and tap on the search icon for a list of amenities Maps can find on your route, which are seamlessly worked into navigation instructions.

2. Offline areas

Robust data connectivity is something most of us never experience. That raging fast 4G connection is constantly under threat of slowing to a crawl the moment you step out the door. Our recommendation? Swipe from the left on the main maps screen and access the ‘offline areas’ setting. Here, you have the option of downloading your home area, or a custom area (defined by the size of the square crop depicted on the map). The offline areas expire in a month if not updated, but the upside is you have access to full navigation options and basic info about landmarks and businesses even without data connectivity.

Pro tip: Hidden in the settings menu in Maps is a ‘WiFi only’ mode that shows you online features like traffic data only over WiFi. Use this in tandem with offline maps for some great savings on your data plan.

3. Multi waypoints

The point of a map is to show you the best route options. This is where multi waypoints come in. A lifesaver for travellers, this feature lets you add as many destinations as required on a route, and Maps plots a route between all of them, letting you figure out their orientation with respect to each other and the order in which you can visit them for maximum efficiency. Find this option in the hamburger menu (depicted by three dots) next to the origin and destination you have set for your trip.

4. Virtual tours and labels

Another little explored aspect of Maps, these features are your best friends in a new city. Want to decide if that museum is worth visiting? Search for it on Maps, swipe up on the card with its name, and scroll through photos of the place. For popular destinations, there is a good chance of a 360-degree virtual tour being available for you to judge if it’s worth a visit. The same card also allows you to label the place for future reference. It might be hard to find ‘No. 999, XYZ Apartments’ six months later, but search for your label named ‘Venue of cousin’s insane birthday bash’ and you’re on your way.

5. Become a guide

On the left hand menu from the Maps main screen lies an innocuous little option titled ‘Your Contributions’. This is the gateway into Maps’ Local Guide programme, a gamification of your knowledge of the area you live in. If enabled, Maps routinely asks you simple multiple-choice questions about places it knows you’ve visited, answering which gives you points that contribute to levelling up your Local Guide profile. Photos you upload, reviews you write and edits you make, all contribute points to level up the profile, which earns goodies and exclusive invites to Maps events.

Now that you are armed with the knowledge to become a Maps power user, go forth and enjoy the holiday season by navigating like a pro.


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Printable version | Apr 2, 2020 4:25:14 PM |

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