Among the applications that it would be hard to do without, at the top of the list, there is Google Maps. Without it, we would be lost (do you have it?) No but seriously, even if there have been a few incidents due to Google Maps, GPS has especially saved our lives a million times, especially when our friends have us made an appointment in completely lost places, far from any trace of civilization. And yet, even if we use it all the time, there are plenty of little things we don’t know about Google Maps that would allow us to use it even better. Here are some tips for you.
1. Use Google Maps even without a network
If you know you’re going to find yourself in a place so lost that you’ve never even heard of 3G or Edge, then you can download a map in advance so you can view it offline. To do this, all you need to do is have an Android phone, search for a location on Google Maps, slide the white tab with the location from the bottom to the top, then press the three dots at the top right. There, you will be offered to “Download an offline plan”. Okay, it does take up a bit of space on the phone, but it’s not huge either, and it can really save you.
2. Use virtual reality
You are not so good at GPS that you can get lost even when you have the map in front of you? You can use Google Maps’ ultimate weapon: augmented reality. With Live View, you’ll be able to watch the actual streets around you through your screen while huge arrows show you the directions to take. Please note, the “Live View” button only appears if you have launched a pedestrian route. Well yeah, otherwise it’s a little dangerous anyway. Still, with that, you should finally stop being late everywhere you go.
3. Display Street View along with your map
In some situations, you may need to have both a map and an image of the street in front of you (it helps a bit to navigate). In this case, tap on the small superimposed squares to the right of the map, then select both “Default” and “Street View”. Then, you just have to tap on a place on the map so that your screen splits in two and displays Street View in addition to the map. It’s almost magical but in fact it’s technological.
4. Indicate the roads not yet referenced
This is rare since Google Maps is a tool that is regularly updated, but it happens that certain small roads are not yet referenced on the app. If you want, you can tell Google where they are located using a tool available on computer and Android which allows you to send a plot of the missing road. After that you really have to want to work for free for Google, but you already do that on a daily basis.
5. Activate dark mode
It’s a matter of taste, but some find it more comfortable for their eyes to watch apps in dark mode. If this is your case, immediately go to your profile by pressing your Google profile picture, then, in “Settings”, open the “Theme” tab and then choose the “Dark theme”. We personally find it less readable but we will respect your choice until our death.
6. Delete your Google Maps history
Google can record all your trips and even give you a little recap of the places you’ve been to each month. It must be admitted that it is a little scary (even if it does not surprise anyone anymore). If you want to at least escape this feeling of super oppressive cops, you can click on your Google profile picture, choose “your trips”, choose a date and “delete the day” to make the trips concerned disappear. More drastic still, go to the “settings and confidentiality” tab and choose to delete the history of the positions (once or all the time). It is immediately a bit more reassuring.
7. Note where you parked
You might fall into the foolish category, so this tip can save you hours of research when you’ve forgotten where you left your car. Here again, it is very simple: before leaving your car that you have just parked, tap on your location on the map then on “Save parking space”. We still advise you to exercise your memory from time to time, it doesn’t hurt.
8. Share your location in real time
Unfortunately, going home alone at night is not always a safe activity. If this happens to you and you are worried, or your loved ones are worried about you, you can share your location with them in real time. To activate the option, go to the profile, then to “Share the position”, and then you have to choose for how long to share and with whom. Depending on the option chosen, relatives will receive an alert by message or email to follow your journey in real time. You can never be too careful.
9. Know in advance if you will be able to park easily
When you have planned to go to a place by car, it is rather comfortable to know in advance in which area you will manage to park without too many problems. Well with Google Maps, it is possible. From the moment you launch a route by car, the app tells you if it’s a hassle to park in the area with a small “Parking Difficile” logo. It won’t help you find a place, but at least you won’t be delusional.
10. Display bike paths
We took care of pedestrians and motorists, so here’s a little one for cyclists. If you want to know in advance which route to take to stay as long as possible on the cycle paths, there is an option for that. Just press the “Bike” icon and all the cycle paths will be displayed on the map. It’s not very beautiful, we grant you that, but it’s still very useful.