Smartphone and tablet apps enable users to do a nearly limitless number of things. One of the more popular apps on all platforms, is Google’s Maps. Maps offers some great features, including turn-by-turn navigation, street view and transit information in most countries. In an effort to make maps even better, Google released an updated version in July. This latest version of Maps has a new interface and extra features which improve functionality. However, as with any tech development, there will inevitably be users who don’t know how to get the most out of the latest Maps.
Here are five tips to help you get more out of the new version of Google Maps on your smart device, (Android, iPhone and iPad).
1. Set home and work addresses
Many people use Maps for directions, not surprisingly, and in order to improve this, Google now allows you to set your home and work address. When you set these addresses, you can not only get better directions, but your device will also show more accurate traffic levels and could even give you alternate routes. All without asking.
To set your home and work address:
- Open the Maps app on your device.
- Tap the Maps icon to the left of the Search bar and select Settings from the menu that slides in from the left.
- Ensure that you are logged into your Google account. If you are, it should show your account name below Switch account.
- Tap Edit home or work, followed by which address you would like to edit.
- Enter the address and hit Done.
- Do the same for the other address. If your business or workplace has a Google Place page, enter the name and Google should find it.
When you set a home and work address, with the Google Now app, you should notice directions and suggested routes to and from work/home automatically pop up.
2. A different way to zoom
The vast majority of users navigate maps with one hand, with the other holding the device. While most people use the pinch to zoom method, there is actually another way to zoom: Double tap the screen where you want to zoom and slide your finger up to zoom in, or down to zoom out.
You can also move the orientation of the map by placing and holding one finger in the center of the screen and moving another in a circular motion to rotate the map.
3. Offline maps
Not every device will have a constant data connection. In previous version of Maps, you could cache, or download, an area of a map and make it available offline. With the new version, this option is nowhere to be found, at first glance at least. If you zoom to an area you would like to be available offline, tap on the Search bar, hit the microphone and say “Ok, Maps.” The map will download to your device if this is possible.
To access the map while offline, just open the Maps app and navigate to the area where it was cached. It should be available then without being online. Note: Google has said that this feature is currently only available for Android devices, but will be available soon for iPad and iPhone.
4. Access Street View
Street View is an incredibly useful tool, especially if you are going to a new location and aren’t too sure where to park, get off the bus or what the building looks like. To access Street View simply press and hold on the map at the location and a red pin should appear, with a white bar in the bottom that has the address. Slide the address up to reveal more information, including a picture from Street View. Tap on the picture to go into Street View.
5. Save a location for later
If you visit a good restaurant, or want to quickly find a business on a map again, Google allows you to star locations. When you star a location, it will show up on all versions of Map (as long as you are logged into the same Google account). When you tap on this location, you can quickly get directions and even contact information.
To star a location, such as a business, find where it is on the map and tap on the business name. A card should pop up with information, including the address, website, contact info and three buttons at the top: Save, Share, Route. Tap Save and Maps will star the location on your map.
If you are looking to learn more about the Google Maps app please contact us today and we will point you in the right direction.