10 Google Maps features you should use

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Google Maps Live View Demo
Google Maps Live View Demo
AOME1812 / Shutterstock.com

Google Maps isn’t just one of the company’s best products, it’s one of the best products in the Internet age in general. Maps has tons of features that you may not be familiar with. We will share some of the best.

Find alternative bike routes

Select a route.

Google Maps isn’t just for cars and public transportation. You can also find bike routes in your area. The bicycle routes are made from public trails and bicycle lanes on the roads. However, that is only part of it.

In July 2022, Google Maps gained the ability to find alternate bike routes, just like driving directions. It’s easy to see the different ways you can get around on your bike.

RELATED: How to see bike routes on Google Maps

Check gasoline prices

Gasoline prices on mobile Google Maps.

Gas prices are something you probably pay attention to when you travel. How can you know where the best prices are? Google Maps actually shows gas prices right on the map.

All you have to do is search for “gas near me.” Nearby gas stations will appear and you can simply zoom in to see the prices. Selecting a gas station will display prices for all grades of fuel. It is very useful.

RELATED: How to find the cheapest gasoline with Google Maps

avoid freeways

Enable "Avoid highways" and touch "Clever".

Highways are often the fastest and most direct way to travel, but sometimes you may want to avoid them. There is a simple option in Google Maps to avoid highways (and toll roads). Once the option is enabled, Google will find a route for you that avoids these roads. It’s much easier than trying to do it yourself.

RELATED: How to avoid highways on Google Maps

Send directions to your phone

Sometimes it’s better to plan your trip on Google Maps in a desktop browser. You can see much more on the map and research locations on other tabs more easily. When you’re done, you can send the instructions to your phone. There is a button on Google Maps to “Send to your phone”. Shows a list of devices connected to your Google account.

RELATED: How to send directions from Google Maps on desktop to your phone

Add missing roads and places

Draw the road and select "review and submit".

Google Maps is great, but it’s not perfect. You have probably stumbled upon lost paths or places on your travels. Sometimes it can take a while for new builds and changes to appear. You can help by adding missing roads and places yourself.

Of course, your additions will not be accepted immediately. Google reviews all missing road and place submissions. The more people submit missing locations, the more likely they are to show up quickly.

RELATED: How to draw lost roads on Google Maps

View walking directions in 3D

Walking directions from Google Maps AR.
Google

Walking directions can sometimes be annoying on Google Maps. The slow pace when walking makes it difficult to quickly show the direction you are walking. That’s where 3D walking directions come in.

3D walking directions use your camera and augmented reality to put arrows and paths in the “real world”. You can simply look through the camera to see where you need to walk.

RELATED: How to view 3D walking directions on Google Maps

Customize your car icon

You don’t have to use the boring blue triangle for Google Maps navigation, even if it has an interesting origin story. The little icon that shows your position on the road can be a car, SUV, or truck. Unfortunately, you can’t customize the color, but a cute vehicle is a fun touch.

RELATED: How to change the icon of your car on Google Maps

Follow the movement of forest fires

Google Maps with fire sources on Android and iPhone

Wildfires are a real and dangerous threat in some parts of the US Google Maps uses data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s GOES satellites to show the movement of wildfires directly on the map.

Start by googling the name of the fire, which will bring up an information car for Google Maps. Once on Google Maps, you can see the outlines of the wildfire area. The movement is updated every hour or so.

RELATED: How to track wildfire movement on Google Maps

Create your own custom maps

Add a name and description for your custom map from Google Maps, then hit Save

Google Maps can also be used as your own custom mapping tool. It is possible to create custom maps that can be shared with friends. Maybe you’re planning a scavenger hunt or a road trip with lots of stops. These maps are not published on the Public Map, they are only for you and anyone you share them with.

RELATED: How to create a custom map on Google Maps

Check if a store is busy

Google Maps showing how busy a store is right now on the mobile app.

It’s no mystery that stores and restaurants have certain times of the day that are busier than others, but how can you tell? Fortunately, Google Maps collects information about rush hours and displays it on the location information card.

This data is collected from people who have location history enabled in their Google accounts. It’s not always 100% accurate, but it’s a good way to get a general idea of ​​how busy the place will be.

RELATED: How to see how busy a store is right now with Google Maps


Google Maps is one of those products that many people rely on every day. It has made a very real difference in the way people navigate the world. Make sure you’re using the best features!