Although we have been using Google Maps India for quite a while, we often miss many features that make our life easy.
Since Google launched its web mapping service in 2005, navigation has taken a different turn. Google Maps has given us more than just directions. In fact it has been one of the greatest utilities of the internet age. Even in countries like India where people rely a lot on asking people for directions, still the mapping service has become an invaluable resource for them.
Here is a look at some helpful features of Google Maps India.
Lesser known features of Google Maps India
Compare and book Uber, Ola from Google Maps India
Why open different cab apps to check prices? Just open Google Maps app on your smart phone, put your to and from stops in Directions.
Click on the waving man sign beside the car/bike/walk icons. It will list below all the Uber or Ola cab options with pricing. It will also work with other cab booking options as long as it is linked to Google Maps India and is installed on your device.
Checking direction with depart / arrive time
The map will give you more than just directions for going from point A to point B. Use Directions coupled with time and traffic to get most accurate results. For example, when you ask to go from Point A to B in Google Maps, check the drop-down button which gives three options – Leave Now, Depart At, Arrive By. This is very handy if you are going on a new route.
With that are date and time options to choose. This way you can plan ahead knowing at what time and date the roads will have more traffic and plan accordingly.
To the right of the date are more options to drive by or avoid; like do you want to avoid the tolls? Google Maps India will find you another way. Indians prefer kilometre to miles and you can set your map to your preference.
See live traffic
Watch traffic conditions on Google Maps India. Under Menu scroll to Traffic. You can see the typical traffic of the routes. You can also watch the real time traffic status.
Find Directions with a click
Just click on the place in the Google Maps India. Select where you are or want to go. Right click and select Directions to here or Directions from here. You will find more useful options like Search nearby that is very useful for tourists and travellers.
This is one of the most practically useful features. Say your friend wants to visit where you are now. Simply share your live location from the menu. You friend can track live as to where he is going.
This feature in Google Maps India has become a safety feature. When someone shares a location to you who is travelling either by taxi or any other mode, it becomes easy to keep a track of the route being taken.
Location sharing helps people to share any address or place anywhere on earth at any time.
Drop a pin
Want to share a place that is not marked on Google Maps? Or maybe just the spot you are standing so that your friend can find you? Simply drop a pin.
On the Google Maps India screen, press and hold your finger and you drop a pin which looks like the red balloon marker. Share this with your friend or you can also save it for your reference.
Add multiple stops to your route
Practically speaking, while you go search for directions and the map shows you a route, many times we take diversions and stops. Or from while you travel from A to B you might want to make a detour to the sweet shop. So add multiple stops to your route map which also act as landmarks and helps in cruising.
To add multiple destinations to a route, first get directions from point A to B. Click on three dots at the upper right hand side and select Add stops. You can also Edit stops after that.
However this option is not for public transport.
Listing your visited locations and favourite spots
Google Maps will help you keep list of your favourite food joints, weekend destinations and lesser known locations.
To save a particular place for later, press the Menu button (three horizontal lines) on the top left. Go down to Your Places. Save your location, label favourites, check your check-ins and locations nearby. The maps also mention the running hours of an office or restaurant.
Will you get a table at the restaurant?
The map not only keeps a tab of your restaurants but also tells you of the crowd level. By using this feature you can plan when to visit the restaurant or to book a table.
Search for the restaurant you are looking for, click on its name and the panel of the left will show pictures of the place with reviews. Scroll down to Popular times. Select the day and you can see the crowd footfall.
Use maps when offline
When we drive, we reach areas with poor internet reach. In such cases, download the certain area or direction if you need to use it offline.
To save and access, click Download or Offline Maps in Menu. This useful feature is being introduced in stages into Google Maps India and may be unavailable in some places at present.
Google Maps will help you measure distance between two points anywhere on earth (and even on other planets in their versions). Click on the first location and then right click. Choose Measure Distance. It will give the straight line distance between any two points anywhere in the world. You can also choose multiple points.
Find Parking spots
Google shows you Parking spots for your destination. Click P in directions or use Search nearby for parking lots. It also shows you parking time, fees and rush hour availability.
On the go and cannot handle the phone for the parking lot? Ask your friend to share that location to your mobile from his desktop or mobile phone.
Liked the parking lot and would want to park again? Save the location. You can also delete that place later.
Use your voice
Use the microphone icon to tell Google Maps where you want to go. Verbal instructions are useful when you are driving. Voice commands are getting updated and better.
See any place on earth
You do not need to use Google Earth for this. In Google Maps India, switch to satellite view from the map. Get a bird’s eye view of our beautiful world.
Befriend Peg Man
Most of us have seen him and ignored. He is Peg Man, the little yellow guy at the right hand bottom of the map, just below the zoom + and – .
Pick him up and drop at a location and he will show you the real world view and pictures of the place, better known as the Street View.
Find everything near you
Are you looking for a restaurant nearby? Google Maps will show you Chinese, fast food, Mughlai, Continental, cafes, bars, takeaways, deliveries – all nearby your location.
Find petrol pumps, ATMs, hotels, malls, medicine shops gyms, parks, hospitals, film halls, museums, art galleries and also nightlife. Open Google Maps and see below Explore Nearby and click on Explore icon for more.
Want something new and happening ? Click on the Update icon beside Explore, and Google Maps will show you all those places and events that people are finding it fresh and exciting.
Create your own map
Click Menu (three horizontal lines) and scroll down to Your Places. Click Maps and then Create Map to make your own. Add routes, directions, highlight places, pin points and customize. Save your map and share with others.
Augmented Reality is in
GPS gets an upgrade into VPS (Visual Positioning System). VPS uses the concept of Augmented Reality. Say when you search for directions to reach a destination, it uses the camera and combines both to give you a more real view.
It is similar to Virtual Reality but you do not need any additional visual accessories. Introduced first for Pixel users and then later for Google camera users, it is being developed and is soon to make maps come to life.
Lost in the streets? Tilt your phone
Google Maps will work with your phone’s gyroscope to find out your location plus angle.
As you tilt your phone making an imaginary infinity (or number 8) in the air, it shows you as the blue dot with the shadow. Sometimes you need to practice a few times to master this compass.
Choose your language
Is it convenient for you to use your local language? Google Maps India gives you 9 language options till date.
In Menu scroll down to Language and select your preferred local language.
Route for wheelchair
When we search for Directions, we see results for car, bus or by foot. Although still under development in Google Maps India, it also gives an icon route option for people who are wheelchair bound. With more information and development, this feature will be useful for a lot of people in need.
Stations for charging Electric Vehicles
This is one step into the future where petrol pumps will probably be replaced by Electric Vehicle Charging Points. Search EV charging stations in your nearby places if you need one now.
You can add to Google Maps as there are many locations that need more information. Start with your own location or one you know well. Fill in by-lanes and smaller shops that may help other people. Fill in the landmarks.
If you think any location is marked incorrect, request an edit and put the right location.
Google Maps India is used by millions every day by delivery people from Swiggy and Zomato. Cab drivers from Uber or Ola use these maps to cruise through lesser known lanes and new routes to efficiently pick-up customers. It has made the life of courier and delivery guys easier and help them serve us better. Most of all because someone marked it up, it helped you too.