14 Tips That Will Make You A Google Maps Expert

Photographed By Rockie Nolan.
You probably already use Google Maps to find the nearest Starbucks and directions to the train. But there are plenty of extras within the app that you might be missing on your usual search. Who knew you could win special perks from Google?
We've rounded up the top hacks for getting the most out of the app, whether you're sightseeing abroad, taking a road trip, or just heading to a friend's apartment. Soon, you'll be able to navigate like a pro — and never have to worry about being lost without Wi-Fi ever again (really).
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Consider these a must for anyone with wanderlust or — if you're like us — a poor sense of direction. Read on for fourteen tips that will make you a Google Maps master.
This piece originally ran March 10, 2016.
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Photo: Courtesy of Google.
Before today, reading reviews on Google Maps could prove tricky when traveling abroad. If you were looking for a restaurant in Paris, many of the reviews would likely be in French, requiring you to copy the review and paste it into a translation app if you didn't speak the language.

Your days of cutting and pasting are over. Beginning today, both Google Maps and Google Search will show you reviews that are automatically translated into the language that you use on your phone. Finding the best crêpes in the city has never been easier.
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Photo: Courtesy of Google.
In the past, Google has made finding a workout class easier via Maps and Search. Now, it’s making the process of actually booking a class a cinch through Reserve with Google. Beginning tomorrow you'll be able to use Google Search and Maps (on desktop only, for now) to find a nearby workout class, see available time slots, and book straight through Google.
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Photo: Courtesy of Google.
Let friends know when you're running late by sharing your location in real-time. Tap your blue dot on the map or open the side menu bar and select "share your location." You can choose the duration of sharing time and the individuals who will be privy to your location.
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The latest Google Maps tool lets you create and share lists of your favorite spots. It takes the existing "starred locations" feature to the next level.

To add a location to a list, open the app, tap the spot, and press the save button. You'll be able to save that location to an existing list or create a new one. Then, to access your lists later, tap the menu button in the upper left-hand corner, select "your places," and choose "saved." If you're headed on vacation, tap the share button to email the list to your fellow travelers.
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Photo: Courtesy Google.
Skip lines at popular restaurants and museums by using Maps’ “popular times” feature. Just search for the place you’re looking to go and scroll down to select the day you’re going. You’ll see a graph showing when that location is the busiest. (Note to self: Avoid the Met between noon and 4 p.m. on Wednesdays.)
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Photo: Courtesy Google.
Instead of going into a separate transportation app to find arrival times, just click on a bus stop or train station to see a list of the buses and trains at that location. Select the one you want to take and you’ll access a list of real-time arrival information.
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Photo: Courtesy Google.
How many times have you walked up and down a street trying to figure out where the heck apartment building 201 is? Get a better sense of your surroundings (and waste less time) by using the Street View thumbnail that shows up when you click on a location on the map. Even though a lot of people use this feature to see some of the coolest global destinations, it’s just as useful for everyday travel.
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Photo: Courtesy Google.
Whether you’re exhausted after a day of sightseeing or at the end of a long workday, finding a route with “less walking” is always useful. When you search for directions, click the “options” tap on the top bar and select from among “best route,” “fewer transfers,” and “less walking” for your time- and energy-saving preference.
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Photo: Courtesy Google.
Insider perks are always nice — and there’s a way to get access to them through Maps. Click the menu to the left of the search tab and and sign in with your Gmail account (if you haven’t already). Once you do that, you’ll be able to sign up to become a Local Guide and can earn points by contributing reviews of locations, photos, and more to Maps. The more points you earn, the more benefits you get, which include early access to new Google features, additional Google storage, and the chance to test out Google products before the rest of the public.
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Photo: Courtesy Google.
Worried you won’t have Wi-Fi when you get somewhere? Now, you can download the area of a map you need and access it even when you don’t have service. (This is also useful if you’re traveling somewhere and don’t want to pay for extra data.) To download an area, search for the location and select the "download" tab to the right of the share button. You can also use the left-hand drop-down menu by search to select “offline areas” and add a location.
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Photo: Courtesy Google.
Find the best nearby coffee shop more quickly: Instead of searching for coffee shops in the search tab, put your cursor on the tab and select “explore nearby” from the drop-down menu. This will lead you to curated lists of local favorites, lunch spots, coffee shops, and more, with ratings and reviews in one easy-to-access place.
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Photo: Courtesy Google.
You’re probably used to switching into traffic mode from the drop-down menu on the left side of the search tab, but traffic alerts are a newer feature worth taking advantage of. Using information from Waze, an app that uses community-sourced knowledge to give the most up-to-date traffic warnings, you can avoid a jam. Just click the yellow exclamation mark on the map for details.
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Photo: Courtesy Google.
Get better deals during your road trip by searching for gas stations on Maps before pulling up to the pump. Type in “gas stations” (or select it from the drop down menu when you put your cursor on “Search Google Maps") and you’ll see a list of nearby gas stations with their fuel prices. You’ll see the same prices when you zoom in on the map itself.
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Photo: Courtesy Google Maps.
Android users were lucky enough to get Google Maps' multi-stop tool earlier this year, and now it's come to iOS devices. Just update your Google Maps app, enter your destination, click on the corner menu, and select "Add Stop." Doing so lets you easily plan all the stops for a road trip or everyday errands. After you've added all your stops, press "Done" and you'll be good to go. This feature is so convenient for planning road trips.
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