Forget a keen sense of direction, Google Maps has become the de facto navigator for anybody with a smartphone who’s trying to get from point A to point B. But for all its utilitarian functionality, Google Maps has a number of cool features that can easily go unnoticed when you’re just trying to figure out what bus to catch. From making your own maps to navigating airports, here are 11 of the coolest things you can do with Google Maps.
11. Multiple Stops
It’s not entirely obvious at first glance, but Google Maps does allow you to plug in multiple stops en route. On mobile, all you have to do is hit the three dots at the top right of the screen, and it will let you add up to ten destinations in a given journey. On your computer, there is a plus sign at the bottom left of the destinations that lets you add more stops.
10. Events Search
When searching for a venue in Google Maps, the first information given is the address, hours of operation, and a contact number. But if you scroll down, Google Maps also provides a list of upcoming events, which can be a great tool for planning a trip in advance.
9. Downloading Maps for Offline Routes
This is one of the coolest features that’s offered in Google Maps, especially for travelers. If you sign into Google Maps when you have data or wifi, you can download area maps, and then use the app like you normally would when you find yourself without service. Just find what you want, and under the options tab click “Offline Areas” to download the map. If you’re traveling, this can come in handy when access to cell service is dodgy, or you simply don’t want to pay for a phone plan and would rather just rely on intermittent wifi.
8. Location Sharing
Although this is already a function in iMessage, you can also use the Google Maps app to share your location with your contacts.
7. Become an Amateur Cartographer
Google will also let you create your own maps via “My Maps.” You can create divisions, add landmarks and photos, and share your creations with other Google accounts. My Maps isn’t available to iPhone or iPads, but you can can still send the maps you’ve made and open them in the Google Maps app.
Google Maps lets you make lists of your favorite destinations (like restaurants or neighborhood haunts) and store them in the app. Lists are also available offline, and you can easily share them with friends via text, social media, or various mobile messaging apps.
5. Google Maps Indoors
Large buildings always have confusing directories, or they’re impossible to find whenever you need them. Luckily, Google Maps has also started providing maps to the insides of big buildings, like stadiums, malls, and airports. There’s also an option in the bottom right-hand corner that lets you move from floor to floor.
4. Never Miss the Last Train
For night owl public transit users, Google Maps has a very handy feature that lets you look up when the last transit option will depart from a given destination. After plugging in your transit route, just click the clock symbol to see a list of departure times, up until the last one.
3. Send Directions From Your Computer to Your Phone
If you’re browsing directions on your computer and you decide you want the info on your smartphone, if both devices are signed into the same Google account, you can just send the directions over. Hit “Send to Your Phone” on the left-hand menu, and you’ll be given the option to text, email, or send directly to your phone.
2. Nature Guide
Google Maps has expanded its reach into a lot of hiking and skiing trails. Just plug in your route and follow the dotted line through the woods.
1. Nature Guide, Inside
If staying indoors is more your thing, Google has also created a really cool feature called Google Maps Treks. If you’re feeling voyeuristic, this site lets you explore exotic locations, from the Grand Canyon to Nepal, through video, street view, and interactive maps.