6 Google Maps hacks you probably didn’t know about

By Varsha Roysam|29th Nov 2016
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There’s no shame in admitting it – we’re all hopelessly dependent on Google Maps. There was a time when we wrote down directions (on this magical thing called paper), asked people around, and looked for landmarks to find a new place. I bet those memories are in black and white. It was especially to those of us without any sense of direction whatsoever that Google maps came as a godsend. But like any other application that we’re so heavily dependent on, many of us aren’t aware of all its features. So here is a list of features for the tech-dependent but nowhere near tech-savvy folks out there.

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Image : shutterstock

Upcoming events

When we search for a location and select the title card, Google Maps displays all the information available about the venue – contact details, images, and reviews. But at the very end, what most of us tend to miss is the list of upcoming events. This is especially applicable to cafes, pubs, music halls, and theatres. This is a great application because when you look up a new place, the events held there will give you a better idea about the place. Also, there’s the benefit of not having to Google it separately. Google, as always, reads our minds and tells us what we want to know.

Drop pin to share

We all know how to share the directions (I hope) from point A to point B with a friend. The share option for a single point or location, however, does not appear on screen. But Google hasn’t forgotten about it. When you press and hold a location of your choice, a drop pin appears on those coordinates. Upon selecting the drop pin card, you will be able to share that location through any media. This is particularly useful for points on the map that aren’t specific landmarks and hence cannot be ‘searched’ for on the map.

Save maps for offline search

Saving a location is easy – simply star it. But Google also allows you to download entire sections of a map for offline use. You can search for an area and select the download option in the title card. But if you want to download a smaller and a more specific area, fit it accordingly into your screen and then type “Ok maps” in the search bar. The area within your phone screen will be saved. The size of the map varies with the scale of the area you wish to download off the map. Also, keep in mind that you will have to update the downloaded map every 30 days.

Book for cabs

You can now book Ola and Uber cabs from your Google map search. When you search for a venue and the directions to it, in the title card you will see ride estimates for both the apps. The catch? You need to have the apps first. Of course. How is this any different from searching directly from the app, you ask? Well, you may simply be searching for a location without any intention of booking a cab. But while on Google maps, you may decide that a cab ride would be best. Isn’t it easier then, to let Google direct you to the app rather than close Google Maps and search for the location again in the cab apps?

Multi-stop routes

After having searched for directions from point A to point B, we sometimes realise that there’s suddenly a point C we need a route for, and point D and…you get the idea. So do we re-do the directions? Not needed. There’s an ‘add stop’ option that when we click on, we can add the extra routes to the already existing route, whether or not these stops are in between point A and B. Google, as always will first display the best possible route for you. This way, you’ll know which stop to make first, and second, and…you get the idea.

Zoom in with thumb

You no longer need to drag two fingers on the screen in order to zoom in and out. Simply double tap to zoom in. To maneuverer both zooming in and out, double tap, hold, and drag down to zoom in and drag up to zoom out. This is a simple but a very useful feature if you’re forced to navigate with just one free hand. Google thinks of everything, doesn’t it?

Here’s hoping that with these hacks, you reach your destination with greater ease! If not, well, maybe there’s no shame in admitting that the old way is really your way. But after you check out its latest feature here, you might just reconsider.

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