Find your way with these 9 lesser-known Google Maps features

Make Google Maps work even better for you than ever

Name someone who has never used Google Maps before.

Bet you don’t have an answer to that, do you? Whether you’re in the UK or some unfamiliar part of the world, Google Maps can always be relied upon to show you the way.

Given how integral it has become to our lives, you probably feel fairly familiar with its ins and outs - but here are nine lesser known features of the indispensible app to make it even harder to live without. 

Place suggestions according to time

Aside from giving directions to the hopelessly lost, Google Maps can also suggest places for the helplessly bored to go to based on what’s around them. But you probably already knew that. However, what you probably don’t know is that you can ask for suggestions based on the time of day.

Do this: Key in your location or destination, tap on the options icon on the left of the search bar, and tap Explore nearby. You’ll be given a list of places according to the time on your phone, but if you’re planning for a night out on the town, there’s really no point in being given a list of cafes. So just tap on the period of the day to bring up a list of more appropriate bars and restaurants opened for dinner.

This feature is location dependent. So just try your luck, especially if you’re on holiday and need suggestions for places around your hotel.

Compass mode

Yes, Street View is awesome. But in it lies an even better feature: Compass mode. You can either choose to navigate Street View using the arrows, or better yet pretend that you’re looking into a different country using your smartphone as a portal.

Do this: Type in your desired destination, then tap on the bar to bring up a list of more options. Scroll down to tap on Street View, and tap the Compass icon on the bottom right to navigate the place by turning instead of tapping. Makes for a more organic experience.

If you pretend hard enough, you can imagine that you’re actually at said destination rather than being stuck in your office cubicle.

Using maps offline

So you’re in a foreign country with no data. You’ve got to get somewhere, but you have no idea how to get there. Back at home, you’d have loaded up Google Maps without a care. But since you’re overseas, that might cost you a bomb in data fees. Why not use your hotel’s Wi-Fi to save a map offline before wandering out?

Do this: When you have access to Wi-Fi, boot up Google Maps and access the map for the place you want to navigate like Bangkok. Then tap the bottom bar with the name of the place you just searched, tap the More icon at the top right hand corner and tap Save offline map. You will be asked if you want to save this portion of the map, or you can pan and zoom to get the specific spot you wish to navigate to. Finally, tap save and you can even rename the map if you wish.

Do note that you have to be signed in to your Google account to work this feature. Should you wish to revisit your saved map, you’ll find it in your sidebar under Your Places for quick easy access.