3 new ways to use Google Maps to explore your surroundings

3 new ways to use Google Maps to explore your surroundings

You can use Waze as a navigation tool to get around town, but nothing beats Google Maps for a bird’s-eye view of your surroundings.

Google continually updates the highly detailed Maps app, adding more features to fly around the world quickly. You can even travel through time! Tap or click here for a Google Map trick to see your house from years ago.

The tech giant has come up with three more exciting ways Google Maps can improve your life. Read on to learn about the latest features and how to use them.

Here’s the backstory

Google is the first to admit that Maps was launched as a navigation tool, but has since morphed into a much more extensive app and travel companion. Many people use it to get a sense of their surroundings or to explore a city before going on vacation.

Since the launch of Google Maps, it has introduced 360-degree photos, public images of an area, and Street View, which allows you to get to the heart of a location. The company goes further by offering three features promised earlier this year.

RELATED: Google Maps and Apple Maps: 10 hidden settings that you will use all the time

1. Location-based alerts

An update to Google Maps allows you to send your location to others, similar to how you can send live locations through WhatsApp. The feature also allows you to see when friends leave a location or arrive safely at their destination.

According to a Google blog post, “notifications can only be set for someone who has already chosen to share their location with you.” You can choose when to stop sharing your location with others, and you’ll also receive recurring monthly notifications about your sharing activity.

You can get step-by-step instructions on how to share your location via Google Maps here for desktop, Android, or iPhone and iPad.

2. See landmarks in aerial view

It’s possible to see global landmarks in 3D using Google Maps on a desktop computer, and you can fly around to get a good look. That functionality is now also available in the app. Google calls this “immersive view” and it works slightly differently.

It’s available for specific buildings and landmarks in Los Angeles, London, New York, San Francisco, and Tokyo, bringing a new dimension to your trip planning. When you Google a landmark, such as the Empire State Building, there is an option to see a full 360-degree rendering.

3. Detailed cycling routes

With the launch in the coming weeks, Google will add a new detailed bike route viewer in some areas. When you get directions from Google Maps, tap on the bike option and you’ll get multiple routes with more information, like heavy traffic, steep hills, or whether it’s a main road or a local street.

BONUS: Keep your data private

Sometimes you want to keep some things private. Google Maps, of course, needs your GPS location to provide navigation data and information about your location.

Did you know that Google stores all your location data from Google Maps? This is how you can turn off Google Location History on Google Maps:

  • Open Google Maps and make sure you’re signed in.
  • Click on your profile picture.
  • Click Manage your Google account.
  • tap on the data privacy tab.
  • Under History Settingsclick location history.
  • tap on the To turn off button. (NOTE: If it is already off, you don’t need to touch the button. Off will be displayed on the left side of the screen.)

Tap or click here for more ways to get some privacy back from Google.

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