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Cool things you can do with Google Maps

Most of you have used Google Maps in some way, shape, or form to get to where you want to go. It’s an incredibly popular and useful tool that has a lot of features. There are a lot of cool things that you can do with Google Maps, and there’s the chance that you don’t know everything that it does. So, here’s a handy guide to showcase some of these things that you can do.

Cool things that you can do with Google Maps

We’re going to go over some of the neat features that Google introduced to Maps that could help make traveling easier. Also, there are features that will make using the app better and give you better insight into your next trip. These include major features and minor conveniences.

See social media posts from businesses

[Updated March 15th, 2024] When you search for a business on Google Maps, you’ll see their business profile with all sorts of information about it. Now, when you search for a business, you’ll its most recent social media posts. This can come in handy, as you’ll be kept up-to-date on some of the latest updates and media from the company. This will also give you a view of the products and services that the business offers.

See building entrances/exits

When you’re navigating to a location, you’ll want to know where you’re able to enter and exit before getting there. So, tapping on a building in Google Maps will show you the available entrances and exits. This way, you’ll be able to navigate to the proper place if you’re going to a place for the first time.

Clear up the interface with a swipe

If you want to look for a location, but you don’t want the search bar and other UI elements clogging up the interface, you can clear it. All you have to do is swipe up on the search bar at the top of the screen. The search bar will go away along with the chips under it, the Your location button, the Directions button, and the bottom bar. In order to bring all of this back, just tap on the screen.

Quickly place a marker

When you’re looking for a specific place, you can tap on the marker on the map. However, if you’re trying to travel to a location that’s not marked on the map, you can place your own marker. To do this, just hold your finger on the map at the location that you want to mark.

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When you drop the pin, it will show you the coordinates of the location. Also, you’ll be able to find directions to that location just like a regular marker. Just know that, if your marker is not on a road, it might be tough for the app to find a location. To get rid of the market, just tap on the backward arrow on the search bar.

Check the air quality of different locations

Sometimes, if you live in a crowded city, the quality of the air you breathe could be a gamble. It’s hard to tell sometimes, but Google Maps have helped you. The map gives you the ability to check the air quality of your locations. When you tap/click on the map layers button (just under the search bar in the app and bottom left on the desktop version), you’ll be able to select the air quality of different areas.

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When you do that, you’ll see different numbers pop up in different locations. The lower the number, the safer the air is to breathe.

Check for wildfires in different locations

Google Maps gives you the ability to see what areas are affected by wildfires at the moment. Go to your map layers, and select the wildfire layer. When you do that, you’ll see dots appear on the screen where there are wildfires. When you click on these dots, it will tell you where it is, how much it’s contained, and when it started. You’ll also see an outline showing the area that’s affected.

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Save locations for later

So, you’re planning on going to a certain park in a week or your friend sends you an address to head to later on in the afternoon, but you forgot to write it down. Sure, you can pull up the location and keep Maps running in the background, but that’s not reliable.

Instead of writing down the location or committing it to memory, you can simply save the location for later. When you search for a location or address on Google Maps and pull up the panel, you’ll see a carousel of chips that you can swipe through. Swipe until you see a Save button.

When you do that, you’ll see a page pop up with different lists that you can add the location to. You’ll already see the Travel Plans, Favorites, Want to go, and Starred Places lists. You can save the location to one of these lists or create your own list using the New list button up top. If you’re using the browser version, you’ll use the New list button on the bottom.

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To access your saved locations, you can simply look for the Saved button on the bottom bar in the mobile version. If you’re using the browser version, you’ll see it on the left panel.

[Updated Feb.5, 2024 ] Get glanceable directions on your lock screen

When you’re navigating to a place, you don’t want to stare at your phone for too long. Sometimes, you just want to take a quick peek at your phone and see where your next turn is. This is where glanceable directions come in. With the feature enabled, you’ll see directions on your lock screen or route overview. It will show you your real-time location and it will show you your next turn.

See building entrances

With this feature, Google Maps will show you the actual entrances for most buildings. The entrances will be marked by circles with arrows inside of them. It will help you know where building entrances are to better help you plot out your routes.

Add pictures of locations

When you check out a location, you get a visual aid of that location via pictures and videos. Those could be taken by the establishment, but there are also pictures and videos from customers. You’ll see pictures of the interior of the building, activities, food, staff, etc.

If you recorded a memorable time at a location, and you want to share it with other people, you can do so. Tap/click on the location that you want to upload for. You’ll see the carousel of chips pop up. Scroll until you see the Upload option. When you tap on that option, you’ll see a page where you can select the photo or video you want to upload. If you haven’t given Google Maps access to your photos, you will need to.

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After that, you’ll be able to choose the photo that you want to upload to Maps. You’ll just want to make sure that you upload an appropriate photo.

Check restaurant menus right in the app

You just spotted a new restaurant, but you don’t know what they cook. Well, instead of going all the way there to find out, you can easily check what food they have right from the Google Maps app/website.

When you select a food location, you’ll see the panel rise from the bottom of the screen. Swipe up to expand the pane to full screen. Under the pictures, you’ll see a carousel of tabs like Overview, Directory, and Reviews. Look for the Menu tab. When you do that, you’ll see the images of the items they serve.

Start navigating using your voice

You know where you want to go, but you can’t quite type it in at the moment; your hands are full or you just don’t feel like typing it in. Well, you can let your voice do all the work for you. You’re able to use the Google Assistant to take you to a certain location.

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In order to do this, you’ll need to have the Google Assistant set up on your device and Google Maps needs to be set as your default navigation app. Just summon the Assistant by saying “Okay Google” or “Hey Google”. When it answers you, just say “Take me to [location]”. The Maps app will open with the navigation already started.

See a location’s real-time weather and time

This is a pretty new and impressive feature that Google unveiled. It’s called Immersive View, and it gives you an in-depth view of different locations on the planet. For the time being, you can only see a selection of landmarks like the Eiffel Tower, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Golden Gate Bridge, etc. The list is expanding as time goes on. One thing to know is that this feature is only available on the mobile version of Google Maps.

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When you search for a place, you’ll see the Immersive view in the panel. It will be the card showing a rotating view of the location. When you tap on it, you’ll see the Immersive View fill the screen. In order to see the real-time weather and time, tap on the Time & Weather icon on the bottom left of the screen. When you do that, you’ll see the time of day change to reflect the time it’s currently in that location. Also, you’ll see what the weather’s like in that location.

See your route in real-time with Immersive View for Routes

Building on Immersive View, Google brought this feature to a more intimate level. Sure, if you’re planning a trip to the Eiffel Tower, Immersive View is useful, but not if you’re planning a trip to your local park. This is where this feature comes in.

Immersive View For Routes will show you an up-close and personal view of your local trip. No matter where you go, you’ll see an intimate view of your route with turn-by-turn navigation.

Also, the app will show you the real-time weather, traffic, and AQI of the destination. Just like with the regular Immersive View, you’ll be able to see how those things will change over time by using the slider.

As of October 2023, this feature is only available in Amsterdam, Barcelona, Dublin, Florence, Las Vegas, London, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Paris, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle, Tokyo and Venice.

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John Smith

My John Smith is a seasoned technology writer with a passion for unraveling the complexities of the digital world. With a background in computer science and a keen interest in emerging trends, John has become a sought-after voice in translating intricate technological concepts into accessible and engaging articles.

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