Get There Faster – 10 Google Maps & Navigation Tips

Chris Hoffman 11-01-2013

google maps tipsGoogle Maps is still the most powerful mapping service ever iOS Maps Showdown: Apple Maps, Google Maps, And Nokia HERE Compared Within a week of release Google Maps for iOS shot to the top of the App Store charts as iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch owners rushed to get Google’s free mapping solution back on their... Read More , despite what Apple might say. Whether you’re using Google Maps in a browser on your desktop or an app on your mobile phone, Google Maps is packed with useful features, some of which are a bit hidden.


Even better, the Google Maps app works in concert with the Google Maps website on your computer, allowing you to find directions on your computer and quickly view them on your phone.

Google Maps Sync

If you have Google Web History enabled Viewing Recent Searches On Google & Why Would You Care? Read More , Google Maps will now remember the directions you’ve searched for. If you search for directions on your computer, you can pick up your phone and view your searches under My Places –> Recent in the Google Maps app. You can tap the directions to view them on your phone without typing in the location names again.

A list of recent direction searches is also available on the Google Maps website under My Places.

google maps tips

View Live Traffic

Google Maps allows you to display live traffic details on the map, allowing you to take current traffic into account when planning your route. This data is not available in all cities worldwide.


To view live traffic, hover over the Satellite icon in the top-right corner of the Google maps view and click Traffic. This feature also works in the mobile apps Google Maps Navigation For Android Helps You Avoid Traffic Jams [News] Read More .

google maps tips and tricks

Change a Route

If you don’t like the route Google Maps suggests, you can click any point on the map and drag it elsewhere. This allows you to change the route if you want to avoid a street or take a more scenic route.

google maps tips and tricks


Plan a Route With Multiple Destinations

If you need to make multiple stops, use the Add Destination link to add each destination to the list. You can then drag and drop the letters to the left of each stop to re-order the list. Google will guide you to each stop in the order you specify, choosing the most efficient route.

google maps tips and tricks

Customize Your Mode of Transit

Driving and walking directions should be available everwhere. Depending on your location, you may also have access to public transit and bicycling directions.

Each different type of directions selects the best route for your mode of travel. You can also select additional options by clicking the Show Options link on the page – for example, you can avoid highways or tolls when driving or select the type of transit mode – bus, subway, or light rail – when taking public transit.


For cycling directions, you’ll see a special map of the current location that displays the best cycling paths The Top 8 Websites To Find Maps Of Bike Paths Near You Read More in dark green.

google navigation tips

Use Google Now

If you have an Android device running Android 4.1 or later Top 12 Jelly Bean Tips For A New Google Tablet Experience Android Jelly Bean 4.2, initially shipped on the Nexus 7, provides a great new tablet experience that outshines previous versions of Android. It even impressed our resident Apple fan. If you have a Nexus 7,... Read More , Google Now integration makes Google Maps Sync even more powerful. When you perform a search for directions on your computer, the directions (and the estimated time it takes to reach the location) will be displayed in Google Now – assuming you have web history enabled. If Google knows your home and work locations, it will display the estimated time and route you should take to get to work or go home.

google navigation tips


Create Your Own Maps

If you have a number of important locations, you can create your own custom maps. Just use the Create Map link under My Places on the Google Maps website. You can also use the Save to map link when viewing a location to save the location to the map. You can set a custom name for each location you save – such as “That awesome pizza place” – to make the map more meaningful to you. In addition to placemarks, saved maps can contain routes – lines drawn along the map.

Saved maps can be viewed on the web or in the Google Maps app on mobile. You can also share your saved maps with other people or even allow them to edit your map How to Create Shared Collaborative Google Maps Google Maps allows you to create custom maps and share them. Here's how to use Google Maps to collaborate with others. Read More .

google navigation tips

Edit Locations

If there’s inaccurate information on Google Maps – maybe a map marker is positioned in the middle of the street or a business has closed but is still mentioned on Google Maps – you can edit the map to fix these problems. Just use the Move Marker, Edit Details, or Report a Problem links under More while viewing the location.


Locate Places Of Interest

If you’re travelling somewhere – or just want to find interesting locations right in your backyard – give Tourist Path [Broken URL Removed] a try. It will display parks, historical sites, and other places of interest on a custom Google Maps view.


Find Precise GPS Coordinates

To determine the precise latitude and longitude coordinates of a location – particularly useful for some types of navigation software – use iTouchMap’s Latitude and Longitude tool. You can enter an address to view its latitude and longitude, get the latitude and longitude of any point on the map, or enter coordinates and view them on a Google map.

google maps tips

Do you have any other useful tips for Google Maps or Google Navigation Use Google Maps Navigation For Turn-By-Turn GPS [Android] Read More ? Share them in the comments below!

Related topics: Google Maps, GPS.

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  1. Rosemarie Grimmell
    June 2, 2016 at 2:47 pm

    We visited a new big city and used google driving directions to find places, which worked wonderfully. However, sometimes we used the navigation in the beginning and then wanted to turn it off because we knew where we were going, but we couldn't turn it off. How do you turn off Google maps before it has reached the destination that was entered?

  2. Cameron Waters
    April 5, 2016 at 9:11 pm

    So I've been using the multiple location router on Google, but I have a mix of timed and untimed stops so it's been really confusing to route them but manually dragging because the optimization gets messed up. I recommend using Badger Maps or another app that is integrated wtih Google Maps to solve this problem. I've just been putting in my locations and then manually putting the time of my appointments rather than dragging them myself and then they optimize the route for me using Google Maps. I use it for a lot of other sales stuff but I think that this feature is pretty cool for everyone.

  3. Anonymous
    October 6, 2015 at 1:57 pm

    How do I get to see which intersections have traffic lights? Would turning on live traffic be the best way to do this? Thank you.

  4. shann
    January 14, 2015 at 7:29 am

    How to use set multiple destinations using the mobile version of Google Maps. Currently the mobile app does not allow you to set multiple destinations.

    • Cameron Waters
      April 5, 2016 at 9:13 pm

      I just commented about how I use an app that's integrated with Google Maps. When I'm on my phone, I enter multiple locations through there (badger maps) and then it routes through Google Maps.

  5. Stu Robinson
    March 8, 2013 at 5:29 pm

    I rely on it heavily from my desktop and from my moble. What I (and apparently a lot of others) would love to see is the ability to creat a route, save it, then navigate that route on my moble. You can save a route and bring it up, but you can't navigate with turn by turn for that route. Would be an awsome tool for bike routes (that are custom)

    • Barend Stapelberg
      June 9, 2013 at 3:29 pm

      It WAS possible to "send" the custom route's "link" to your email and open the link on your mobile but the links it generates does not give you the option anymore to use the Maps app on your mobile...

      Since the new maps, the links just open in the mobile browsers...

  6. Daniël
    February 1, 2013 at 12:46 pm

    Also a great GPS app is app2find - gps friend tracker. You can find your friends and family with it. And it has a great Augmented Reality feature with which you can search around you trough your camera

  7. Mitesh Budhabhatti
    January 13, 2013 at 7:35 pm

    Sometimes I am confused between Google Map and Earth. How is google map different than earth?

    • Patriciusko
      January 28, 2015 at 9:28 pm

      Let's say you are planning your motorbike trip.
      1st you use google maps to make a very detailed itinerary for your trip (and then maybe use something like itn convertor to put it in your offline GPS software. Often used in Europe where you have to switch service provider in every country what is expensive)

      Then let's say, you've came home.. You can use your itinerary for google and make a video or a "flight-above-the-route" simulation which has a lot of 3D stuff, mainly hills and mountains , or even important buildings of the cities..

      Back before, these were different application. Nowadays, they're very similar, and if you scroll out of google maps enough, you automatically switch to earth..

  8. Brian Burke
    January 13, 2013 at 4:24 pm

    I love Google Maps, but I have a question that I'm hoping someone here can help with. When I have to put in a "From" location from my computer, I keep looking for a button that says something like "current location." Am I missing it? If not, why isn't it there?

    • Tony Karakashian
      January 14, 2013 at 10:29 pm

      Does your computer have GPS capabilities to tell Google Maps where you are?

      • Brian Burke
        January 14, 2013 at 10:32 pm

        Is this a joke? Ever heard of wifi?

        • Tony Karakashian
          January 14, 2013 at 11:34 pm

          Um, yeah. And? Unless Google has your AP indexed with coordinates, that doesn't help any. When your phone is asking you to turn on wifi to assist with location, that's what it's doing. It sniffs for local SSIDs. If you're near one, and it's indexed, Google can then locate you fairly quickly to within a couple of hundred feet while your GPS receiver acquires a lock to narrow it down further.

          Although, in theory, this could be used for your home computer, it wouldn't be accurate enough for most people to make it worthwhile. Thus, there's no fill button for the From box.

          BTW, you're pretty snippy for someone looking for help.

        • Brian Burke
          January 14, 2013 at 11:45 pm

          Snippy to your arrogant, stupid, smart-ass initial reply. You acted like a cocky ass and you know you it. Furthermore, Google can tell me where my movie theaters are based on my location. I can track my laptop's precise location based on it being on wifi only. It's ODD that I wonder why Maps can't do that?

    • Patriciusko
      January 28, 2015 at 9:23 pm

      Brian, I'm just anonymously reading throught this stuff but I feel I have to stay in defence for Tony. The one who acted like an arogant stupid smart-ass is you with your comment " Ever heard of wifi" ?
      Anyways. Please don't consider this answer as stupid ass smart ass and whateverass... But when I hit old or new version of maps on my laptop it always asks me "Mytown - Is this your current location ? " Though in this case it finds out where I'm based on my router's public IP address it finds my town almost everytime.. If not, I just manually change it.

    • Stu-ey
      April 20, 2015 at 3:26 am

      Brian, Brian, Brian. When one asks for help, one simply doesn't turn on those taking the time to provide it. Relax...have some cool whhhip.

  9. Anonymous
    January 12, 2013 at 7:23 am

    Greet tips

  10. Darryl
    January 12, 2013 at 4:44 am

    No mention of offline maps?

  11. Charles Rachor
    January 12, 2013 at 4:32 am

    You can find GPS coordinates on the desktop version by simply right clicking anywhere on the map....on the menu that appears, there should be an option like, "what's here?" or something similar. Once that's selected, the coordinates should appear.

  12. Anonymous
    January 12, 2013 at 3:06 am

    Nice Review

  13. Anonymous
    January 12, 2013 at 2:33 am

    I like Google Maps. I tried using the custom maps for a class project once. Had quite a learning experience with students using it. Can see the potential to do some cool things with it.

  14. Anonymous
    January 11, 2013 at 10:44 pm

    I use Google maps to embed into websites; I prefer doing this rather than using map images because the user can re-frame and adjust to suit their needs. The iTouchmaps lat/long tool is incredibly useful, when setting these up. Otherwise there is a lot of trial & error. Thanks!

  15. Brandon Lockaby
    January 11, 2013 at 9:17 pm

    Google maps is the best! Easy to use, and read.