Google Maps has changed the way we navigate on the roads. Its mobile application is essentially a swiss army knife arm with essential navigation, geospatial search and customisation tools. Here is everything you need to fully utilise your Google Maps to its fullest potential.
1. Going off the grid
Similar to other Google services, Maps use your searches and in-app actions to personalise future recommendations. If you are planning to travel somewhere you do not want to stored and link with your account, Google Maps allows you to go incognito and avoid having any of your activity saved. On your mobile device, open the Google Maps app, in the top right, tap your profile picture and tap turn on Incognito mode. While in Incognito mode is on, the app will not:
- save your browsing or search history in your account, or send notifications.
- update your location history on shared location, if any.
- use your activity to personalise Maps.
2. Checking your reservations
You can find info about upcoming reservations within Google Maps based on the engagements on your Gmail and Google Calendar. Tap on the three-line menu icon in the Google Map app upper left corner. Select “Your places,” and search for the “Reservations” tab at the top of the screen. Any advance planning will be shown up there, and you can tap on them to display more information about the location along with the option to start your navigation.
3. Measuring the distance between multiple locations
Planning to map out the distance on your journey or trying to determine how far you can travel for a certain trip? Google Maps can help with measuring the exact distance between two or more locations. On the app, tap and hold your finger on the starting point. That will bring up a red pin to pop-up along with a white bar to display more info about the location. Swipe up on the bar or tap the bar and then select the “Measure distance” option. Next, press on the blue plus icon to find and select the second point. You can repeat the process as many times as you want to measure your full journey.
4. Adding additional destinations into your directions
To start adding multiple stops into your navigation, start by determining your first destination. Press the “Directions” button, then key in your starting point. Tap on the three-dot menu icon on the top right of the screen and select “Add Stop” from the menu. You will get the third field for you to add another destination and you can add more destinations after you fill in the current one. You can even rearrange the destinations as you need.
5. Set up a custom commute notifications
If you are struggling with your daily commuting Google Maps can assist you with your commuting by providing you alerts and travel times. The apps also notify you about the current traffic or any delays along your route. To setup your custom commute notifications, press on the three-line menu icon on the top left corner, select “Settings,” and then select “Commute” on IOS or “Commute settings” on Android. A pop-up screen will display on which you can set your home and work address as well as info about how you typically travel. Key in all the essential details and activate your “Get commute notifications” toggle toward the bottom of the screen.
6. View time-specific traffic
You can search how long a drive is going to take at any time with Google Maps traffic estimation tool. Just look up a location in the app and then click the “Directions” button and place it whatever starting point you want. At the bottom of the same box where you key in the address, you will see a line that states “Leave Now.” Press the downward-facing arrow next to that, then choose either “Depart at” or “Arrive by” to view the traffic conditions and estimated trip total for any day and time.
7. View maps in street view
Exploring streets on eye-level can be an advantage if you are searching for specific landmarks. For example, if you are searching for places in Kuala Lumpur, touch and hold your finger to any spot on a map to select a desired point of reference. Tap on the image of the location that appears in the lower-left corner of your app. Next, tap on the compass icon on the upper-right corner. Hold up your mobile device, move it around and the view will shift to match the actual direction you are facing at any moment.
8. Save your desired spots
Google Maps allows you to create collections of locations for future reference or sharing. Just press on any location’s name within the same bottom-of-screen bar, then select the option labelled “Save.” Once you can save the spot into a default list, like “Favourites,” or set up your custom list where it will be placed. You can opt to create any list private for your personal use only, or you can choose to have it be accessible through a share link that you can send out.
9. Custom labels for your favourite places
If you find yourself frequently looking into the same place for navigation purposes, you can use Google Maps to label your favourite places. First, look upon the place you want and then tap the location’s name in the white bar at the bottom of the screen. Press on the three-dot icon in the upper-right corner of the screen and select “Add label” from the pop-up menu. Key in your desired label and save it. For future reference, you can view your custom label in place of the default name in Google Maps.
10. Discover new places through the search tool
If you are looking for a designated type of places near your current location or any other spot, press the search bar at the top of the app and search on these queries:
- Restaurants,cafe near here
- Convenience store, Pharmacy near Damansara Jaya
- Indian restaurants near me
- Cinemas near Subang Jaya
- Petrol stations near KLCC
- Attractions in Sunway City
11. Using voice commands
Google Maps has several presets of useful voice commands that will work whenever you are actively navigating on the road. You can use voice commands by saying either “Hey, Google” or “Okay, Google” and then followed with the next variations:
- “What is the closest hotel?”
- “Take me to McDonald’s”
- “Find restaurants”
- “Find gas stations”
- “Avoid highways”
- “Avoid tolls”
- “How’s traffic to work?”
- “How’s traffic ahead?”
- “What’s my ETA?”
- “What’s my next turn?”
- “What road is this?”
- “Exit navigation”
- “Mute” or “Mute voice guidance”
- “Unmute” or “Unmute voice guidance”
- “Show traffic” or “Hide traffic”
- “Navigate home”
- “Show route overview”
12. Share your location even as you are travelling
If you need someone to track your movements, Google Maps allows you to share your real-time location. On your mobile device, just press the blue dot to pull up a hidden menu and select “Share your location.” You can set an end time for the location sharing or opt to allow it to be active until you decide to turn it off. You can choose any of your contacts to share with or get a private web link to paste anytime you want. An indicator will be displayed at the bottom of Google Maps lets you know location sharing is active, and you can stop the sharing by pressing the box.
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