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Home / Tips and Tricks / Google Maps is more than just a route description. 5 clever tricks for today

Google Maps is more than just a route description. 5 clever tricks for today



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Wherever you go, Google Maps can give you an overview of what you can find there, from real-time crowd numbers to menus, prices and contact information.

Angela Lang / CNET

I rarely use Google Maps to get directions, but I open the app almost every day for other reasons that may not be as obvious. The truth is that Google Maps does a lot more than just show you how to get from point A to point B. Hidden beneath all of those Christmas traffic patterns and high-resolution satellite imagery is a powerful search tool, real-time crowdsourcing of data on restaurants, retail stores, professional offices, public parks, and virtually anywhere you want to go.

Some of the recent updates to Google Maps include Adding a coronavirus information layer, Pay for parking, improved pictures and road maps, and improved location sharing. Turn-by-turn instructions are available in order to comparatively in the last decade. If you’re already familiar with this app as a navigation tool, just tap, press, or swipe to remove these superpowers and more from Google Maps.

To unlock the hidden potential of the Google Maps app on your phone or tablet, take a look at the five ways I use Google Maps almost every day that have nothing to do with getting directions.


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See how long the line is from Walmart to DMV everywhere

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In the Google Maps app, real-time information on lines, crowds and waiting times is displayed in red. However, you can tap any other time of day to see what you can probably expect then.

Screenshot by Dale Smith / CNET

Before I walk out the door, whether I’m going to Walmart, the grocery store, the doctor’s office, or my driver’s license renewal, I almost always check Google Maps to see exactly how busy I can be with my destination. This is also how you can look up this information.

In the Google Maps app, tap the business or location you’d like to visit and scroll down until you see a graphic labeled Popular times. If you are planning a trip later in the week, tap the day of the week.

Tap the red column for current pedestrian traffic data or one of the blue columns for a summary of how busy you can be at another time: Not busy, Not too busy, A bit busy or As busy as it gets.

Continue under the heading Plan your visit Here you will find general information such as waiting times (“up to 5 minutes from 6 am to 12 noon”) and the average length of visit (“People usually spend 20 minutes here”). Now you know if you are walking in and out in a flash, or if you need to pack a good book or plan your visit for another day when the waiting times are not that long.

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Would you like to wait until the queue in the café is shorter? Check the Popular Hours section to see when the crowd usually runs out.

Jessica Dolcourt / CNET

Check out menus, photos, and customer reviews

In addition to the navigation tools, Google Maps is also a comprehensive crowdsourcing review app, similar to Yelp or TripAdvisor. This will give you a good idea of ​​the options your destination has, as well as price, presentation, and whether or not you need to get a loan to afford it.

This feature is as useful for restaurant pickup and delivery as it is for previewing menu options and prices – not to mention getting a good look at the dishes. It might make or break your decision to try a new place. For those who trust the wisdom of the crowd, the five-star average of the restaurants as well as individual ratings are also displayed to help weigh your decision.

Most restaurant listings have a navigation bar at the top overview, Menu, reviews and photos listed as options (you may have to scroll to see all). Tap on one of these or just scroll down. The link labeled “Menu” is often listed just below the operating hours. However, keep scrolling until you see the heading Favorite dishes See photos of food. Keep walking past Popular times all the way to the bottom to find the restaurant’s five star average and user ratings.

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Get an idea of ​​the type of cuisine a restaurant offers by searching for menus, photos, and reviews in the Google Maps app.

James Martin / CNET

Book a table or order a delivery or delivery

Once you’ve had a quick look at all of your restaurant options, most of the time you won’t have to leave the Google Maps app to make a reservation. If you prefer to eat at home, you can usually order delivery or delivery via the app.

If the restaurant you have chosen uses a booking service like Open table, you will see a tab under that Menu Option that says either Find a table or reserve a table. You do not need to log in to the booking service to make the reservation (although if you are collecting bonus points or otherwise actively using the service, you may still want to do so).

Look for a flagged option for execution or delivery To order something. A popup shows you a list of the available services such as DoorDash or Postmates. However, you need to log in to complete your order. So if you have an account with one of these services, you will likely want to choose this one.

Hey Google Assistant, how did you get my iPhone?

I spend most of my digital life in the famous walled garden of the Apple ecosystem, with one exception: I use a Google Home ($ 99 at Walmart) with Google Assistant to control my smart home.

Google Assistant is not built into iOS Apple’s less capable voice assistant Siri With a setting in Google Maps, you can slide Siri aside so that you always have access to the Google Assistant while you navigate.

To set the Google Maps app on your iPhone to wait for “OK, Google” when you navigate, open the Google Maps app and tap Menu icon (the three stacked horizontal lines to the left of the search bar), then tap the settings. At the top of the page under the heading Get around, Tap Navigation, Then scroll down to the option labeled Access your assistant with “OK Google”. and turn on the switch.

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Google Assistant is built into Google Home devices like this Nest Hub. However, on iPhones, you have to use a Google app like Google Maps to call the digital buddy.

Dale Smith / CNET

Granted, this workaround is a little shaky – you have to set Google Maps to navigate to a specific destination for the OK, Google voice command to work, and you can’t shout “Hey Siri” to Siri while it is working switched on. But until Android can lure me off my iPhone, it’s better than nothing.

Here you will find operating hours, telephone numbers, postcodes and more

Whenever I need to know when a store or store opens or closes, or if I need to call the place and I don’t have the number, or in the rare cases when I need the zip code for a store that has the street name and number are everything I know straight away (e.g. for an application). I go straight to Google Maps for these and other answers.

Here you can quickly and easily find basic information about the locations listed in Google Maps:

Operating hours: The opening times of the companies are displayed immediately below the address. You can tap Down arrow next to today’s closing time to see hours for other days of the week. Most of the entries are updated with special holiday times that are highlighted in red.

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Find the zip code for almost any business in the United States by searching for their name or street address on Google Maps.

Angela Lang / CNET

Phone numbers: You will find the telephone number in most offers below the opening times. To call it without leaving Google Maps, tap the number, then tap the pop-up that shows the prompt Call followed by the number.

website: If the company has a website, it will be listed under the phone number. Tap it to open the website in a Google Chrome supported tab in the Google Maps app.

Post Code: This is less common, but when I needed it, Google Maps saved me a ton of time. Enter either the street name and number or the company name and tap Search. At the top of the list next to the address you will now see the postcode.

For more tips and tricks from Google, check out these Six Google Maps tricks you probably didn’t know, this seven hidden Gmail features and Use of the revised cycle routes from Google Maps.


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