Google Maps just keeps getting better
In the old days, if you needed to find your way to somewhere you’d never been before, you’d have to dust off a map, and literally plot your course that way. Of course, these days, there’s no need to fumble around with a map the size of the average living room. The existence of mapping apps means getting to your destination is easier than ever. I mean, who hasn’t used Google Maps to get them out of a tricky situation.
But there’s more to Google Maps than just, well, maps. There’s a whole load of interesting features that you may not be aware of, and we’ve picked out some of our favourites – they may soon become yours, too.
Share your location
If you’re running late, you can share your location with friends, and they’ll be able to see where exactly you are. They’ll see that you hadn’t forgotten, and can plot your progress. Who knows, they may even have a drink waiting for you when you arrive. Click menu, then ‘location sharing’ to get started.
Book an Uber (or Lyft… or whoever’s available, really)
You can now search, request and pay for your Uber rides straight from Google Maps. Type into Google Maps where you want to go, then select the icon of someone hailing a cab – you’ll find it next to the walk, drive, public transport options. You’ll see what drivers are around, and you can pick the one you want. It’s as simple as that.
View maps offline
If you know where you’re going, and you know you’ll need a map, you can now download it in advance for use offline. Just hit ‘menu’, then choose Offline Maps. Go to the area you want, and press the download button. You’ll have the maps you need, and you’ll save valuable data. It’s a win, win.
Figure out where you parked
We’ve all done it. Gone to the shops, and at the end of it, forgotten where we parked the car. Luckily, Google Maps has got our back. Once you’re parked up, simply tap the little blue dot that shows your location, and press the ‘P’ icon. Your parking location will now be marked with a ‘You parked here’ message next to it. Then later, if you’re having trouble finding your car, you can fire up your phone and find your way back. Problem solved.
Ask a question about where you’re heading
Going somewhere new? Want to get tips on where’s best to eat out, things to do, places to see? If you’re using Google Maps on Android, you can find out from the people who know best: locals, and those that have visited. Search for the place you’re going to, then scroll down to ‘Questions and Answers’. Ask away, and let the Google Maps community do its work!
So that’s five of our favourite Google Maps hacks, but if there’s something you swear by, which we haven’t featured, well, what are you waiting for? Tell us about it in the comments below.