Top Tricks for Google Maps

by Sandra Henshaw - , Last Updated on December 15, 2016, App Guides

Google Maps is hardly an unknown app, but maybe it doesn’t always get the credit that it deserves. Some of us can remember the times when you needed a paper map book in your car, and most of us can remember needing to buy an expensive GPS system. But Google Maps and your regular old mobile phone now mean that you already have all the navigation you’ll ever need at your finger tips. And on top of that, there might be a lot more to Google Maps than you realise, whether you’re driving, walking or using public transport. Don’t believe us? Then check out our awesome top tips for Google Maps features that you might not even know about…

Pump the Petrol (and save some cash)

We’re putting this right at the top of the list because it’s a pretty new feature, and one that we love. Plug in your route, or destination, or location to Google Maps, hit the search icon (the magnifying glass) and look for petrol stations along your way. That’s pretty handy, you’ve got to agree, but Google can do better than that. The shown petrol stations will now tell you not only the locations of the stations themselves, but also the petrol prices, so you can make sure that you’re getting the cheapest and best deal around. Sweet.

No More Tickets

Alright, we’re going to be honest and say that this one requires a little more than just Google Maps. First you’re going to need to head into the Play Store and download another app called Velociraptor- Map Speed Limit. Head into the app you’ve download, play around with the settings until you’re satisfied (or don’t, up to you), then open up Google Maps. You should now see a little circle to the side of your map that shows not only your current speed, but also the speed limit of the road you’re taking. Again, we can do a little better than that though, since you can go a step further and add in the option to have the app alert you when you’re going more than a certain amount over a designated speed limit, meaning you’ll never get a speeding ticket again.

Don’t Be Late!

Google Maps is probably most often used for driving or finding places, but you can also use it for planning trips by public transport, and it’ll show you how long a trip takes, where the changes are, and all that good stuff. Better than that though, you can also find out about scheduling trips in the future. Put in the info you need for your trip (usually destination and current location), hit the public transport tab, then hit the button that says “depart at.” You can change your departure time to whenever you’re thinking about leaving to get a good estimate of the best connections, and you can even change “depart at” to “arrive by” so that you know when to leave to reach your destination on time…

Save Your Data

Got a limited data plan and don’t want to use up precious data by using Google Maps when you’re on the road? No probs. Simply find the area you’ll be driving around in the Maps app, say, Paris, and then click on the “download” button that will appear next to the name (or address) you want. This will download the map for offline use, though you’ll need to switch off data on your phone to use an offline area by default. Still, you can get areas of up to 120,000 square KM all stored up and ready to go, which is pretty handy if you’re heading off on holiday.

Stop Losing Your Car!

Frequently park in random places and can never remember where your car is? Then park up, open Google Maps on your phone, press and hold on your current location and you’ll be prompted to save location. Ta-da, you now have a “pin” where your car is parked, and all you need to do is follow the map back to your vehicle. Easy.

Skip the Fiddly Phone Functions

As great as mobiles are, planning a whole trip on one can get wearing. But that’s not a problem with Google Maps. Just ensure that your computer and phone are both signed into the same Google account, then do all your planning, researching, and navigation stuff on your computer. Once you’re satisfied with your route and directions, simply click on the button at the top left that says “send to phone” and your route will go straight to your mobile, ready for when you leave the house.

Shop Faster

Eugh. Shopping malls. Love ’em or hate ’em we all end up in shopping centres from time to time. But did you know that you can use Google Maps inside some major malls? Yep, that’s right, head into the mall, open up Google Maps and zoom in and in some centres you should be able to navigate around the mall with the app, finding specific shops, toilets, banks, whatever you need. That’s got to be far easier than finding a mall map, and should mean that you get out of the mall faster than ever.

Track Your Location

Okay, our final tip is kind of a mixed bag, but Google can track all of your locations into one timeline. It’ll show a line of all the places you’ve been in a given day, and if you happen to  use Google Photos it will show you pictures you took at each location as well. That might be a bit creepy, in which case just go into the settings menu, select “timeline” and switch the tracking off. On the other hand, this is a great way to remember what you did on holiday and where you went, and where pics were taken, and might even help you remember which bar you left your wallet at last night, so it’s not all bad…