Category: Google Maps

Google Maps Enabling Trip and Real Time Location Sharing

Google Maps is in the process or rolling out a location sharing feature that you may actually want to use.  Location Sharing is something that has been a bit spotty for both Android and iOS with Apple probably having it figured out best with Find My Friends.  But, as is usually the case with Apple, it is only for fellow iOS users.  That is why this new feature in Google Maps is so exciting.  It works cross platform between Android and iOS.

In a nutshell, here is how it works.  When the feature rolls out to you, there will be a Share Location feature in the menu.  Tap it then select the contacts you want to see your location in real time.  You can set it up to share your location in real time for a set amount of time or until you turn the feature off.  Once you start sharing, your selected contacts will get a notification on their phone and when they open up Google Maps, they will be able to see where you are in real time.

Google Maps Update Brings Real Time Commute Information

A new update to Google Maps for Android is rolling out and with it comes a much improved places near you tab and real time commute information.  All of this information can be found by swiping up in Google Maps which will now display a three-tab page.  The first tab is Places which has been in Maps for a while now.  This gives you local places such as places to eat, have a drink, ATMs and fuel stations that are near you.  The Places tab not only serves as a great place to discover something new but also gives you places that you have been before so you can revisit them.  Functionally, you won’t find much difference in this release over what is there now.  It has just been cleaned up a bit and put into this more contemporary navigation tab model.

The new driving tab is designed to give you real time ETAs to home and work.  It also gives you nearby traffic conditions and expected delays.  Equally, if you want real time traffic information but don’t need turn-by-turn navigation, you can tap the Start Driving button and go directly into Driving Mode in Google Maps.  For this feature to work, you need to have stored your home and work address with your Google account.  You can actually set those up within Maps under Settings>Your Places.

Google Maps Debuts Parking Difficulty Information

Google Maps has rolled out a new feature that gives you an idea of how difficult parking will be once you get to your destination.  The new feature is a behind-the-scenes update so if you have the latest build of the Maps apps installed, the new feature will appear in the metro areas in which it is enabled.

Factoring in time for parking can make or break a night out, let alone making it to that big meeting on time. So in 25 metro areas throughout the U.S., we’ve introduced a new parking difficulty icon in Google Maps for Android that’ll give you a heads up on what kind of parking crunch to prepare for when you’re on the go.

This should make sure that you are on time to that dinner reservation or meeting as it builds in some time for you to go park your vehicle.

Book Your Ride Share Service Right Within Google Maps

Google Maps has a big update rolling out that brings a nicely integrated car sharing booking element to it.  The ability to see ride share services like Uber and Lyft has been in Maps for a while now but if you wanted to actually book an Uber, you had to go to the Uber app to do it.  No more.  Now you can link your Uber account to Google Maps and can book your ride right from within the app.  Further, you can see the location of your driver within the app and you don’t even have to have the Uber app installed on your phone for all this to work.

What you do need however is the latest build of Google Maps.  That is version 9.43.2 for those keeping score at home and it is currently rolling out to the Play Store.

Google Maps Update Brings Hotel Room Photo Galleries

Google Maps has long had the ability for users to attach photos to locations like hotels and restaurants.  The idea is to give your fellow Maps user an idea of what that particular place looks like before they book it.  Now there is an improvement to this around hotels that users will find quite handy.  The latest update brings a dedicated photos gallery of rooms at a particular hotel.  Now you don’t have to go through all of the photos for a particular property.  You can just select the Rooms tab and it will show you pictures of the rooms.

The updated build is version 9.41.1 for those keeping score at home and the OTA update is rolling out now.  You should see it hit your device over the course of the next few days.

Google Maps Now Shows Your Upcoming Events

Google Maps has had a nice addition over the last few days which gives you a list of events you have coming up so you can quickly find them in Maps and navigate to them.  The new list is found under My Places in the app.  There you will find a new tap, Upcoming, where you will find events that you have coming up based on things Maps finds in your calendar and in Gmail.  If, for example, you have travel plans or dinner reservation confirmations emailed to your Gmail account, they will now show up in this Upcoming list.  Likewise, if you add an event to your calendar, it too will show up.

Once you have the event in the Upcoming tab, all you can tap on it and it will bring up the event’s location within Google Maps.  From there you can easily navigate to that event.

Google Improves Google Maps Voice Commands

It is pretty clear with the advent of “OK Google”, Google Assistant and the soon-to-be released Google Home that the Mountain View company wants you using your voice to get information or to give commands to your devices.  All of these voice-enabled apps & services improve all the time and the latest to see big improvements is Google Maps.  You’ve been able to use limited voice commands in Maps but yesterday Google made some back end changes that gave it a slew of new ones.  Now you can use commands like “Mute Voice Guidance” or “Navigate to Starbucks” all by voice without ever having to touch your phone while you are driving.  That’s safer for you, those in your car, and those around you.  Distracted driving leads to serious accidents and deaths each year and these new commands, hopefully, will cut that down some.

Catching Pokemon Now An Activity Tracked in Google Maps

Google has rolled out a small behind-the-scenes update to Google Maps that acknowledges the phenomenon that is Pokemon.  Using the timeline feature in the app, you can now indicate when an activity you were doing was catching Pokemon, just like you can when you are walking, running or doing other activities.  The change doesn’t require an update of your Maps app (assuming you have the latest build from the Google Play Store) and you can now edit activities in your timeline as time spent trying to catch them all.  While not necessarily super useful, it is fun, especially for those who are into the game (and there are a lot of you into the game!)

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