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Home / Tips and Tricks / Google Maps has some surprising tricks in store that do not require navigation

Google Maps has some surprising tricks in store that do not require navigation



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Wherever you go, Google Maps can give you a snapshot of what you'll find when you get there, from real-time crowd numbers to menus, prices and contact details


Angela Lang / CNET

I use Google Maps almost every day, although I rarely use it to get directions. At first glance it is not obvious, but Google Maps can do much more than just navigate you from point A to point B. Among all those high-resolution satellite images and color-coded routes, a powerful search function is packed with crowdsourced real-time data on scores from shops, restaurants, professional offices, and public parks – and virtually wherever you want to go.

Turn-by-turn directions are so last decade compared to some of the more recent updates of Google Maps, including AI-powered language translation and incognito mode to prevent a paper trail remains . If you already know Google Maps as a navigation tool, powers of the next level are just a tap, push or swipe away.

To unleash the hidden power of the Google Maps app on your phone or tablet, view the four main ways I use Google Maps every day that have nothing to do with getting directions.

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See how long the line is everywhere, from Walmart to the DMV

  img-1254.png "height =" 0 "width =" 370 "data-original =" https://cnet3.cbsistatic.com/ img /G56SpAaYT6tUrn-ln-kQCakOXxo=/370x0/2020/01/03/3e110f04-1ac5-441b-844a-9e629f73c6a2/img-1254.png cialis19659014 completimg-1254.png "height =" 0 "width10" 370 =3 ] In the Google Maps app, real-time information about lines, crowds, and waiting times is red, but you can tap any other hour of the day to see what you can expect. </p>
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Screenshot by Dale Smith / CNET

Before I walk out the door, whether I go to Walmart, the supermarket, the doctor's office or to renew my driver's license, I almost always look on Google Maps to see how busy I can expect my destination to be there to be . Here you can read how you can look up that information.

In the Google Maps app, tap the company or location you want to visit and scroll down until you see a chart labeled Popular times . If you are planning a trip for later that week, tap the day of the week .

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

Then, under the heading with the label Plan your visit, you will find general information such as peak waiting times ("up to 5 minutes from 06.00 – 12.00") and duration of average visit ("People usually come here 20 minutes by "). Now you know if you will be in and out quickly or if you need to pack a good book or plan your visit for another day when the waiting times are long.

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Do you want to wait until a restaurant has room before you leave? Look under "Popular times" to see when the crowd disappears.


James Martin / CNET

View menus & photos, photos & customer reviews

In addition to the navigation tools, Google Maps is also a complete crowdsourced review app, like Yelp or TripAdvisor, giving you a good idea of ​​what for the type of options that your destination offers, as well as price, presentation and whether you need to take out a loan to pay for it.

This feature is especially useful if your destination is a restaurant, hotel or bar, where examples of menu options and prices – not to mention good viewing of the dishes and decor – your decision to try somewhere can make or break new. For those who rely on the wisdom of crowds, it also shows the 5-star average of the restaurants and individual reviews to take into account in your decision.

On most restaurant lists you will see a navigation bar at the top with Overview Menu Reviews and Photos & # 39; s listed as options. Tap one of these or simply scroll down. The link with the label Menu is often mentioned just below the opening times, but keep scrolling until you see the headline Popular dishes to see photos of food. Keep Passing Popular Times to almost all the way down to find the 5-star average of the restaurant and user reviews. . ] Get an idea of ​​the type of cuisine that a restaurant offers by browsing menus & photos, photos & reviews in the Google Maps app.


James Martin / CNET

Hey, Google Assistant, how did you get on my iPhone?

I spend most of my digital life in the famous walled garden of the Apple ecosystem, with one notable exception: I use Google Home ($ 79 at Walmart) made possible by Google Assistant , to serve my smart house.

Google Assistant is not ingrained in iOS like Apple & much less capable Siri does, but a setting in Google Maps lets you slide Siri aside so that you always have access to Google Assistant while navigating.

To set the Google Maps app on your iPhone to listen to "OK, Google" while navigating, open the Google Maps app and tap the menu icon (the three horizontal lines stacked) left of search bar) and then tap Settings . At the top of the page, under the heading Moving around tap Navigation, and then browse to the option labeled Access your assistant with "OK Google" and turn the switch on.

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Google Home devices like this Nest Hub come with Google Assistant embedded, but on iPhones you have to use a Google app like Google Maps to call up the digital sidekick . [19659003] Dale Smith / CNET

Granted, this solution is a bit conceited – you must set up Google Maps to navigate to a specific destination to get the voice command & # 39; OK, Google & # 39; to make it work, and you can't call Siri with & # 39; Hey, Siri & # 39; while this function is on. But in my opinion, it's still better than the thought of switching to an Android phone (for some, fighting words, I know).

Find opening times, phone numbers, zip code and more

When I need to know when a store or office opens or closes, or when I have to call the place and I don't have the number, or the rare occasion when I need the zip code for a company whose street name and number is everything I know by heart (for example for an application), I go directly to Google Maps to get these answers and more.

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

Opening times : The opening times of companies are displayed directly below the address. You can tap the down arrow down next to today's closing time to view hours for other days of the week. Most entries are updated with special holiday hours, which are marked in a red font.

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Find the zip code for almost every company in the United States by searching for the name or address on Google Maps. Angela Lang / CNET

Telephone numbers : Below the opening times in most lists you will find the telephone number. To call without leaving Google Maps, tap the number and then the pop-up window with the prompt Call followed by the number.

Website : If the company has a website, it is listed under the telephone number. Tap it to open the website on a Google Chrome tab in the Google Maps app.

Postcode : this is less common, but when I need it, Google Maps has saved me a lot of time. Enter the street name and number or company name and tap search. At the top of the entry next to the address you will now see the zip code.

Of course, Google Maps is also packed with features that help with what the app is most clearly designed to do – show you how to get where you are going. Start with these six Google Maps tricks that you probably don't know yet . If you use Google Maps to navigate during a major road trip, these tips help make your journey as smooth as possible . If you encounter accidents, speed checks or other delays while on the road, you can now report up to seven different types of road incidents directly from the Google Maps app.

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