Tips and tricks for google’s map service

Simon Hulsbomer

Simon Hulsbomer is Senior Project Manager Research and responsible for study projects at IDG Market Research. Previously, as Program Manager, he was responsible for business development and the content of IDG’s continuing education offering at the interface of business and IT – in terms of content, he is still responsible for the "Leadership Excellence Program active. Prior to that, he worked as a (senior) editor for Computerwoche for about ten years, covering all topics related to IT security, risk management, compliance and data protection.

Google Maps is not just a digital replica of a printed map of a city or a country. It’s a travel planner, vacation helper and recommendation engine all at once. Our tips reveal how to really get the most out of the Google map service.

Google Maps can do more than many users realize

Google Maps can do more than many users know.
Photo: Roman Pyshchyk /

Offline maps

According to a recent survey by Intel Security, one in two Germans now chooses their vacation destination based on whether they have cell phone reception there, and thus also Internet. But even the on vacation off-line lead no longer have to miss the services of Google Maps. Simply download the desired maps for offline use before the trip and even on the moon you would then still have the full view. Simply select the map section you want and then go to Settings – Download Offline Maps. If desired, Google Maps also automatically synchronizes certain areas for offline use. Attention: The data to be downloaded can reach exorbitant sizes.

Cross-device route planning

If you use Google Maps on multiple devices – for example, on the desktop PC and on the smartphone, you can easily transfer marked points, including route plans, from one device to the other. Plan the route on the office or home computer and then click "Send to my smartphone" in the side menu of the desired location – all devices you have connected to your Google account show up here. Now you can continue with the route planning from on the road.

Send places and routes to your mobile devices, too

Send locations and routes to your mobile devices, too.

If you have a car with an infotainment system that supports Google Maps, you can have the whole thing sent to it. Note: this is not the Android Auto feature! If instead of "Send to my smartphone" you choose on "Share If you click on the button, you can integrate selected locations on other websites – this is ideal for family celebrations or other events where many guests travel from far away.

Timeline with location history

Google Maps tracks and monitors you step by step with the Timeline feature. This will allow you to see the places you’ve been (assuming you had a Google service in use at those locations). Data protectionists may cry out, but the feature is useful, for example, if you can’t remember exactly what the name of the store was where you discovered that one great product last Wednesday. If you use Google Photos and have taken photos at the noted locations, they will be displayed as well. The timeline function is activated by default, but can be turned off. The saved history can also be deleted.

Via the function'Zeitachse' lasst sich genau verfolgen, wann der Nutzer wo gewesen ist (vorausgesetzt, das Feature ist aktiviert und der Verlauf nicht geleert - wie es hier aber der Fall ist).

Using the "Timeline" function you can keep track of exactly when the user has been where (provided the feature is activated and the history is not cleared – as is the case here).

Become a "Local Guide

"Show others your world on Google Maps Google advertises its "Local Guide-Program. The aim of the campaign is to increase the number of ratings and information about individual locations. Rewards for posting photos, entering new restaurants, adding to existing location information, and answering questions about places you’ve been include gimmicks like free online storage and invitations to beta test new Google features. Who "Local Guide" If you want to send a route to your smartphone, you should have the location history enabled and also turn on push notifications to receive suggestions for locations to rate.

As'Local Guide' bewerten Sie regelmabig Restaurants, Sehenswurdigkeiten oder Hotels.

As a "Local Guide regularly rate restaurants, sights or hotels.

Search along the route

Get a craving? Tank almost empty? If you are traveling by car and want to know quickly where the next gas station, fast food restaurant or cafe is, you can use Google Maps to search for it live along the route. By voice control or – in case of a co-driver – also manually with further detailed information about food offers and fuel prices.

Everything about public transport

If you are traveling in a larger city with a subway, commuter train or streetcar network, you can find current departure, arrival and travel times for individual stops and stations on Google. It’s especially handy when you’re traveling abroad and don’t want to dig through countless foreign-language websites to find out how to get from A to B without a car or cab.

Subway? Bus? Streetcar? Google Maps helps with public transport planning

Subway? Bus? Streetcar? Google Maps helps with public transport planning.

Filtered route planning

You don’t always have to go everywhere by car. The Google Maps route planner also likes to include public transport, bike and foot paths. Also, highways, toll roads and ferries can be excluded to save some money.

Routes can be filtered

Routes can be filtered.

Mobile on the road

Google Street View, which was hotly debated in earlier years, is not at all easy to use on a smartphone. To start it, touch the desired point on the map and hold the spot until a marker appears. If a Street View preview image appears in the lower left corner, the corresponding data is available and you can execute Street View by touching the photo. In view mode, blue lines on the screen then show you the way in all directions in which you can move freely.

Discover local highlights

Google Maps is increasingly turning into a tourist guide that presents places worth seeing and places worth visiting. Simply mark a place and click on "Nearby" in the side menu click – and you will be shown restaurants, hotels, bars and pubs in the vicinity.

"Nearby" brings you places of interest in the vicinity.

Add labels

If the predefined locations are not enough, you can of course also enter your own, which can then be accessed later via the menu item "My Places" Find again. Places of residence and work can be stored to simplify route planning, for example, and to define a standardized starting point or destination.

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