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Life Hacks: 

7 Google Maps tricks everyone should know

Google Maps tricks

This map of New York is more than a map of New York

Where would we be without Google Maps? Sure, we survived well enough before it became so ubiquitous, but should it be cruelly snatched from our grasp tomorrow we’re honestly not sure how we’d cope. In 2014, getting lost is essentially impossible – all you need is your smartphone and enough battery life to see where you’re going.

While the most recent version of Google Maps saw the company strip out many of the on-screen menus and options, there are still tonnes of great functions hidden under the surface. So, want to get more from Google Maps? Take a look at these 7 tips and tricks that really everyone ought to know.

1) Save maps for offline use

Perhaps most useful of all is the ability to save maps to your cache so you can access them offline. When travelling in foreign countries this is essential to spare you the expense of roaming charges – just prepare the part of the map you need on your hotel WiFi and then access it as and when you need to.

To save maps for offline, just search for the place you’re interested in and pull up the place info sheet that appears at the bottom of your screen. Then tap ‘Save map to use offline’ and it’ll be there when you need it.

2) Easy zoom

As you know, zooming in and out on Google Maps is as easy as creating a pinching motion between your thumb and finger. But did you know there’s an even easier one-handed solution? For a quicker zoom, just double tap the screen making sure to hold your thumb on the screen after the second tap – then scroll up and down to zoom in and out.

3) Save your home and work addresses

Put a star next to your home and work addresses and any other places you visit regularly for easier directions and nearby searches. To ‘star’ an address, simply tap its location on the map and then select the save icon that appears on the pulled-up place info. On the desktop site you can view all of your saved locations by clicking the settings cog and selecting ‘My Places’.

google maps upcoming events

Lauryn Hill in Brixton this month? Yes please!

4) Check Google Maps for event listings

Using the power of Google, Maps is capable of a lot more than just finding your way around. If you’re short of something to do, you can use the desktop version of Google Maps to find out what’s happening at your local venues. To do this, search for the name of a venue and click the upcoming events tabs to bring up a list of shows – you’ll even find links for more information and to buy tickets for each specific event.

5) Use reviews

Not sure about a bar or restaurant that you’ve stumbled across? Try checking out the reviews on Google Maps. It might seem obvious, but it’s easy to forget that Google reviewers are on your side to stop you repeating their mistakes – or, hopefully, to recommend great places that you’ll want to revisit time and time again.

6) Search with intelligence

While Google’s search bar may seem limited, it’s actually a lot more versatile than you might think. If you’re looking to visit a museum in London, for instance, you can bring up a list of nearby museums by typing “museums in London’ and scroll through to find one that interests you. Even if you have something more specific in mind, it’s always worth testing the search bar on Google Maps – it knows more than you think!

7) Ask Google for recommendations

Finally if you’re out and about and completely stuck for ideas, why not ask Google for a recommendation? Zoom to the portion of the map you’re willing to travel to and type the * symbol into your search bar – the app will then pull up a list of nearby attractions for you to choose from. Thanks, Google!

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