10 Google Maps Tips You Probably Didn't Know
Admit it: You probably never use a physical map anymore.
Instead, there are a bunch of app and online options, making it easier than ever to get where you want to go.
One of the most popular is Google Maps, so we've compiled a list of tips and tricks to make you a power user.
1. Scope the easiest bike paths on Maps for desktop
If you're a biker, Google Maps has a sweet elevation feature that will help you better choose between routes by showing you where you'll hit steep hills.
If you bike to work, knowing that you can avoid a doozy of an incline by taking a slightly longer route is incredibly helpful (and a good deterrent of showing up too sweaty). Maps also lists the total number of feet you will have to climb, as well as how far you'll get to coast downhill.
Unfortunately, this feature is currently only available on desktop, not Google's mobile Maps app.
2. Bad at directions? Drop a "pin" to seamlessly share your location with friends
Sometimes trying to explain to your friends where you are is a hassle, especially if you don't know the exact address.
Never fear, Google Maps makes it easy. When you're looking at a map on your phone, you can press down on your location (marked by a little blue dot) on the screen to drop a pin. Then just press that pin and you'll be able to click "Share" to send the link via text, email, or whatever else you want to use to share your spot with your buddies.
3. Find your way around a city — even without cell service or wi-fi
If you're going to be traveling in an area where you know you won't have cell service or wi-fi, you can download segments of maps to use as your guide.
Just prep beforehand by finding the area when you do have service, taping the three vertical dots on the corner of the map, and tapping "Save offline map." That area will be saved under the "Your places" category in the app.
Find more detailed step-by-step instructions on how to do it here.
4. Label your 'home' and 'work' addresses so you're not always typing in specific numbers and streets
We wish this was our home
There's no place like home, right?
Make it easier to make it back by labeling your address — then you'll only have to type "home" into the search bar.
Just swipe right in the Maps app to see your profile, and then tap "Settings," and then "Edit home or work" to add your street address.
5. Never find yourself needlessly strapped for cash or gas
Google wouldn't want you to be short on money or running out of gas. It's super easy to find the resources you need to prevent those situations by tapping on an empty search bar in the Maps app. Do that and you'll get a list of helpful options — click on one, like ATMs — to see all the ones nearby.
Besides ATMs and gas stations, you can also direct yourself towards florists, post offices, libraries, car washes, copy shops, or hospitals, among other things
6. Make sure you don't miss the last train
Let's say it's Saturday night and you took the train into the city. Eventually, you need to get home, but you want to suck as much fun out of the evening as possible. Luckily, Google makes it super easy to check what time the last train leaves.
Simply type in your destination (in this case: home), press the train / bus transportation option, and then press the graph icon on the left side right under your destination. You'll then be able to select an arrival time, departure time, or "Last" which will show you exactly when you have to high-tail it away from the party so you don't get stranded.
7. Keep a visual log of all the place you've been
It's kind of cool to be able to look at your Maps history and see all the ways you've zig-zagged around. If you've enabled location reporting and location history on your phone, Google Maps will keep track of all the places you've visited (here's how to turn those settings on or off).
Once you've turned those on, you can check out your location history here.
Don't want Google to know where you've been? You can delete your Maps history here.
8. Get away with hazily worded searches
Want lunch but don't know exactly where? Or plan to go shoe-shopping after work, but not sure of your options?
You can search with vague language like "Shoe stores near Union Square" or "Restaurants near me" or "Hookah bars near work" and Google will show you a helpful list of options.
9. Never forget that amazing bar you stumbled into Saturday night. (Or that hole-in-the-wall burrito place! Or anywhere really).
Google lets you save spots that you loved via its mobile app. Simply drop a pin (again, by holding down any spot on the map) and then press the bottom bar on your screen. The window will now show information about that place, as well as a star icon with the word "Save."
Press it. You can access all your saved places by swiping right to see your profile, tapping "My Places," and scrolling through the list of starred locations.
10. Clutching a full coffee in one hand and your phone in the other? No problem. Zoom in on maps with a few quick taps.
If you want to zoom in or out on the map with one hand, there's a trick.
Touch a spot on the map, and then immediately touch it again. Without removing your finger, drag down to zoom in and drag up to zoom out.