Google Maps: Just a Navigation App or Something More?

Most of us use Google Maps for getting directions or navigating from point A to point B. Some of us know you can look through the photos of cities while planning a vacation using the Google Maps app. Less of us know you can “walk” along the streets thanks to the 360° interactive panoramic views. And the very few of us know that the Google Maps app is not only web mapping and the satellite photos. 

So what else can Google Maps app be used for? Today we’ll talk about a few useful ways that can literally make your everyday life more comfortable.


First of all, Google Maps can work as an active guide, when you are in a new place, and you haven’t planned your movements on the spot. Just tap “Explore” at the bottom of the screen (it’s the first icon in the toolbar), and Google Maps will provide you a list of places to visit nearby. Restaurants, bars, places to visit with a company, museums and parks are distributed in folders, which makes it convenient to look through them and to choose.

Your Automatic Diary

The Google Maps app helps you not only to navigate your way but also to save information about it if you set this option in the application settings. This way, you can check your movements during any day or time in the past.

To set this option, you should tap "Contribute" at the bottom of the main screen, the fourth icon on the toolbar. Scroll down till you see the option “Save Location History”. The application will ask you to set “My location” to show “Always”. Your navigation will be tracked down from that moment on.

To find your tracking history, tap your photo (or the horizontal lines if you are not an authorized Google Account user) on the right side of the search bar and choose “Your timeline”. You can change particular parts of your location history, as well as delete information for certain periods or in full. Your history is visible only to you. You can change the settings at any time.

Popular Times In Popular Spots

You can use Google Maps while planning both your trip for business or pleasure. The Google Maps app shows real-time traffic conditions, crowds and waiting times. 

Choose the place you want to go and check the information about the busiest time for this place. Scroll the window down till “Popular Time,” and you’ll see whether it is worth visiting, or you should change the date or time of the day. Swipe left/right to change the date. Below you can find the information on how much time one usually spends there (people typically spend 45 min to 2.5hr here). You can plan your visit using all this useful information and save your time.

Smart Planning

Google Maps can be used as TripAdvisor alternative. You can find here information about working hours, prices, menu, photo of the dishes or interior and the overviews of the visitors for the places you are interested in. If you are interested in choosing the restaurant for your party, just put the name of the place into the search bar. The window below will show you the navigation bar with the Overview, Updates, Menu, Reviews, Photos and About. Tap any of them or scroll down to look through all the information. 

You can check the address, the website, the working hours for today and any other day of the week. You can also leave your suggestions here. Also, you can find the one to five stars that show the average user rating of the place.

In the “About” section, you can find the information about cash/card payment, children’s playroom or wheelchair accessibility. Right here, you can make a phone call for the reservation or save this page if it is interesting for you. All your Saved places, reservations or labeled marks can be found at the bottom of the main screen of the appliance.

You can find the ZIP code in the address bar of any place. One still needs this information despite today’s global digitalization.

Google Maps Maker

You can not only read the visitors’ reviews. You can leave one yourself and take part in the formation of public opinion. This can be very helpful in improving the restaurant service. And, moreover, you can leave a message about the mistakes you found or the missing information, about bicycle lanes, for example.

Find the Car

There is a very useful option, “Parking location,” which will help you to find the place where you left the car. To set the Parking location, tap your location on the map (or the location where your car is). If you are using your location, there will be a small window with 4 options. 

Choose the right one with the parking sign. If you are using the place, you should open the window with a description, tap three small dots on the upper right corner of the window and choose the option “Set as parking location”. Then you can easily get back there.

Google Home

If you have the Google Home and you are fond of Apple’s gadgets at the same time, use a setting in Google Maps to add the Google Assistant (which is not baked into iOS) while navigating. 

You can do it in Settings: tap your photo (or the horizontal lines) on the right side of the search bar, tap Settings, then Navigation on the top. Scroll to the option “Access your Assistant” with “OK Google” and turn the switch on.

Your Thoughts: Useful or Not?

As you can see, Google Maps is not only a navigator but also a helpful assistant in your everyday life. You can make your life more balanced and smart and be helpful in improving the quality of services and goods around you.

How often do you stay trapped in traffic or lose your time in lines? Or can’t decide where to go on your Birthday party? Try Google Maps’ help and write your impressions.

Write down in the comments whether our information was new and useful for you or you have other useful Google ways to share with us. 

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