While pandemic may have impacted its sheen to some extent but I am sure when things get better, this piece of software called Google Maps is going to be a life saver yet again. If you know me, you might know that I suck big time at directions. I just can’t remember them.
I did feel bad about it momentarily until I realized, that I just might get away with it. Google maps is such a powerful tool that I can completely outsource my navigational requirement to it. However, some people still have a hard time wrapping their heads around it. So this post, is specifically dedicated to how to use google maps. There are some hidden features which can prove to be no less than a boon and I shall specifically focus on such features.
Born in February of 2005, Google maps was launched as a desktop application which would help people look for directions from point A to point B. Currently, it has a billion users jumping on it every month. Being one such user, I am a big fan of making the most out of a piece of tech available to us. Therefore, I tend to fiddle with every possible feature on the application. So, what are these features? Here you go!
Before you go Duh! Let me put this functionality on steroids’ for you all.
I was once discussing about a trip with one of my friends. One of those which we are extremely enthusiastic about but it never comes to fruition. So, we were in Delhi and were planning a road trip from Mumbai to Matheran.
While understanding the time taken and distance between the two places, he tried making a search on Google. Whereas, I opened the maps. He asked me how could I search for a route from Mumbai whilst not being in Mumbai myself.
Henceforth, I decided to add this functionality to the list. You can search for distance and routes between any two points in the world.
Next time you search for a place, simply tap on directions as shown in the screenshot below, and you’d enter a screen where you may edit origin/destination location.
2. Adding Stops:
And if that was not enough for you, do you know you can add stops to your trip? You can find out the detour and check how route works out for you with multiple stops in between.
Conventionally, one would search for route between Point A to B and then B to C. Drawback? You never knew what best option could be there.
Google can rescue you in such a situation.
Simply click on three dots as shown in the screenshot and select ‘Add Stop’. You can drag and rearrange your desired intermediate location. Google will show you the entire route. Pretty handy right?
3. Future Traffic
A very common problem statement. You are new in town and want to catch a flight next morning. What time do you leave from your hotel to ensure that you don’t miss it?
Alternatively, you might want to know if you leave place A by 3 PM in the afternoon, what time would it take vis-à-vis when you leave at 5 PM?
Well, Google Maps FTW.
Simply tap on the three dots and select ‘set depart or arrive time’. Pick if you wish to chose the departing time from the origin or the arrival time for your destination. Maps will give you a time range within which you should be leaving or expected to arrive. Voila!
4. Parking location:
A few months ago, I shared a solution to keep a note of your parking location. If you reach to a location using Google maps, the moment you stop your car, beloved Google saves your parking location automatically. So next time of you are scared of getting lost in the parking lot, like I usually am, worry not! Google’s got your back.
Please note that Google is also keeping a track of the time since you have parked. This would help you from getting overcharged (just in case).
You can simply set the directions to this location and walk back safely to your beloved vehicle.
5. Pin Dropping:
When Google Maps became a way of life for me, next big question that came up was how to memorize locations that are not on the maps. And believe you me, I was in a sales job. A typical channel management profile where visiting different customers was a daily routine. These customers resided in smallest, remotest areas of the town at times. So, how did I manage to reach them all every single time?
By dropping a pin at their location. I visited an important location and dropped a pin there. Labelled the pin with the relevant name and next time if I was required to go there, I would simply navigate.
All you have to do for this is tap on the icon shown in the screenshot. This will recalibrate you to your current location. Next, long press on that location and voila!
You can now tap on the label icon to give it whatever name you like.
You can tap on saved tab in the application to access these labels later.
6. Quick Link Buttons:
Maps is capable of suggesting certain key points on your route. The most used button for me here is petrol pump. There are other buttons like ATMs, restaurants, hotels, hospitals etc. Simply tapping one such button will populate all the options available in your vicinity. You can also explore this while your navigation to a destination is on and it will suggest you the nearby facility with the detour it is expected to cost you.
A true life saving functionality for careless kids like me if you ask.
7. Changing Navigation Icon:
A lot of my friends think that this came out of my habit of tinkering with the system and it is purely for aesthetic purpose. However, they are partially true.
By changing the iconic blue navigation mark (which merges into the background), I have changed it to a red car. This gives me better visibility.
Planning to do the same? Simply tap the icon while navigation is turned on and pick the icon of your choice.
This doesn’t end here. There are multiple other features that are not relevant to me, but might be of some use to you. There is a way Google can suggest best public transport options for your destination. Then there is terrain/satellite view.
There is also an updates section that will show you the most visited places nearby. This can be pretty handy if you are visiting a town for the first time and want to pick places for eating, sightseeing etc.
The question now arises is, how well versed are you with the Google Maps? How many features mentioned above have you used already?
Let me know in the comments section below. If this article adds value to your life, please consider sharing it with your friends using the links below.
Until next time..