The crash and speed test reporting feature of Google Maps is in its testing stage. Despite its evolution and countless updates, Google Maps has become an idle fixture of an app in most android phones — only because of its unfamiliar components that most of us hardly know exist. Isn’t it about time we make the most out of its hidden and frequently ignored features?
So let’s get to know some of Google Maps’ hidden features and recently added ones that you may not be aware of.
Google Maps’ Media Playback Controls
You can add audio controls directly into Google Maps for you to see your currently playing tunes and shuffle them around when you need them within a prominently placed bar in the app’s navigation setup.
To set up, go to Google Map’s Settings, choose ‘Navigation Settings,’ and turn on the toggle next to ‘Show Media Playback Controls.’ Then, tap the line beneath that says ‘Default Media app,’ and select your preferred program, such as Spotify or Apple Music.
Google Maps’ Dark Mode
Anyone with sensitive eyes will be pleased to see a newly added feature on Google Maps: the option to set the app’s color scheme to a permanent dark mode whenever navigation is active.
The app manages this setting on its own by default, shuffling between light and dark schemes as it sees fit. But if you’re bothered by distracting colors, look for the ‘Color Scheme setting’ and change it from ‘Automatic’ to ‘Night.’
Google Maps’ Detailed Street Maps
This feature, which uses AI and Google’s information about cityscapes, shows where crosswalks, pedestrian islands, and sidewalks are. This allows pedestrians to plan the most accessible route. This is especially useful for people who use wheelchairs or strollers.
Maps’ Area Busyness
This feature informs you which area or district of the neighborhood is busier than usual for you to take a reroute. Just open Maps and check the active hotspots to avoid. However, if you want to go to popular places around town, use the area’s busyness to identify lively neighborhoods with gatherings and find exciting things to do.
Car Park Feature
Google Maps can tell at which point your vehicle is parked, in case you forgot where you parked it last.
Just tap the blue location dot in the app (which indicates your current location) and select ‘Save Parking.’
Street View on Google Maps
It lets you see how a particular place or tourist spot looked a long time ago and how it has changed over time.
You’ll see how a landmark was years ago by simply dragging Pegman (that tiny yellow figure) onto your chosen destination and clicking on the clock icon.
Google Maps’ Live View
Are you confused about whether you should turn right or left just because you’re not sure which way you’re facing? Then stop wondering.
Access the app, tap the compass in the top right corner of the screen and it’ll shift the map to face the same direction you are in. Click the compass once again to return to the more traditional ‘North is up’ view.
To access Live View, you must be standing still. You’ll see where to turn or how far to go in the direction you’re facing depending on where you look. Start walking or tilt your phone back down to return to the traditional map view.
Catch the Last Train
Google Maps can help you catch the last train. Mass transits don’t run in many cities all night. Most of them stop running after bars close. So if you need to make a transfer along the way, planning a trip can be challenging.
The good news is, the app can be programmed to remind you to catch the last train.
Enter destination into the app, select the train icon>Depart At>Last, and Done. Google Maps will show you the last train and buses that will get you there.
Google Maps Voice Navigation Feature
The app can be connected to your car’s speakers through Bluetooth, making it possible to receive calls to guide you while you travel.
To set it up, go to the app’s menu. Tap Settings>navigate settings>Play as a Bluetooth Phone call.
Add Stops to Your Ongoing Trip
Google Maps can do more than show you how to get from point A to point B. You can also use the app to plan multiple stops along your route.
Tap the three dots in the upper right corner of the app and select ‘Add Stop’ for planned stops. Tap on the slot bar, search, add from the map, then choose from Gas stations, Groceries, Restaurants, Fast food, etc.
Share Locations with Your Friends
Google Maps can be used to share maps and locations. You can invite friends or relatives over to your new place by simply sharing your location on Google Maps. Instead of sending them an SMS that tells them to remember every landmark to find your site.
Just look up your new address in Google Maps, tap ‘More Info,’ and then select ‘Share’ to share your location with them.
Google Maps Can be Used Offline
Just tap the menu button, go to ‘Offline Maps,’ search the area of your choice, and then click ‘download.’
This is a great feature when you’re going to someplace where there’s inadequate network coverage. It can also be helpful when trying to save mobile data consumption in an unfamiliar location.
Google Maps Can be Zoomed In With Just a Finger
It’s not easy to use Google Maps with one hand if you have a large phone. Or when you’re on the steering wheel, and you want to zoom in on a specific location.
Instead of taking your hands off it, double-tap to zoom in and out with one finger. But on the second tap, keep your finger on the display and drag it up and down.
This unique feature saves you a few bucks by avoiding paying toll fees.
You can tell Google Maps to show you only accessible access routes.
Once you choose your destination, tap on the three dots on the top right and click ‘Route Options.’ From there, you have the option to select whether you want to avoid tolls, highways, and ferries.
Check Real-Time Traffic
Turn on traffic” by tapping on the diamond-shaped layers icon to have the real-time traffic checked in your area.
For computers, there’s a box with the words ‘Live traffic’ and an upside-down triangle.
Select the triangle, then the ‘Typical traffic’ to see how traffic will be later in the day or week.
Enjoy Google Maps’ Hidden Features Today
Google Maps has proved to be your handy travel companion and guide. All these often overlooked features are designed to give you the best user experience. You may want to give it a shot and see for yourself.