Do you already know the hidden features of Google Maps?

Google Maps is more than just a virtual map that tells us where to go. Make restaurant reservations, find parking spaces or even check Corona’s infection rate: Google Maps has long been able to do more than just navigate. And the app’s range of functions is growing all the time.

Google Maps is the first port of call for many users when it comes to navigation. But Google Maps offers a few more functions. No matter if you want to be navigated to a certain place by car, by bike, on foot or by train, if you are looking for a restaurant or if you are looking for stores in the immediate vicinity – Google’s map service offers all this and more. atechbook lists the functions of Google Maps that certainly not all users know yet.

Google Maps function is not flawless

A hand cart with 99 smartphones, each with the Google Maps app open and location data enabled. That’s all artist Simon Weckert needed to trick Google Maps. He had a colleague stroll around some Berlin streets in a cart in early 2020 to fake traffic jams. They actually appeared as red lines live on Google Maps, even though there were hardly any cars on the roads. The action shows that the service can be easily manipulated. Google Maps relies to a large extent on current GPS data.

“We don’t have an inner map anymore, trust apps quite a bit,” Weckert formulates the criticism behind his art action. If something goes wrong in the process – whether due to a lack of Internet connectivity or actions like the one mentioned – many users are therefore quite helpless.

In fact, most people use the map service and navigation as a matter of course. However, they are often unaware of all the other functions that the software offers. Here are a few that are quite practical in everyday life.

Use Google Maps even without Internet

Hidden functions of Google Maps

Deutsche Bahn information and ticket purchasing

Google Maps and Deutsche Bahn have been cooperating for some time. For example, customers can request route information and departure times in the map service. Both companies have further expanded their cooperation and now also offer real-time and service information (e.g. on a track change, on detour, etc.) for around 800 connections per day – whether with the ICE, IC or EC of Deutsche Bahn. In addition, Google Maps now also shows a buy button for train tickets, which directs users to Deutsche Bahn’s platforms for ticket booking.

Google Maps parking function: find and save parking spaces

Finding the destination usually works very reliably with Google Maps. But where to park? Here, too, the service promises help. If you search for “parking space” on the map, you get a selection in the vicinity, for example in parking garages. Including information on how full the parking lot is expected to be.

If you can’t remember where you parked your car after a few drinks, Google Maps’ parking function lets you save the parking space and even add information – such as a photo of the parking space, notes on the location or when the parking ticket expires.

Pay parking fees

Relativ neu im Bereich Parken ist, dass einige Nutzer direkt über Google Maps ihre Pay parking fees können – ganz ohne Drittanbieter-Anwendung. Die Funktion wird derzeit in den USA getestet und soll schon bald nach Deutschland kommen. Der Navigationsdienst kooperiert dafür mit Passport und ParkMobile, die Zahlung erfolgt kontaktlos über Google Pay. Auf Wunsch können Nutzer über Google Maps sogar die Parkzeit verlängern.

Watch Corona spread

Google Maps has integrated a new function that can be used to check the infection rate of Covid-19 in different regions of the world. The new cases per 100,000 inhabitants, determined in the past seven days, are shown here. Users can access these via the level icon, which they can also use to switch to the satellite view. Here you will now find the item “Covid-19-Info”. If you now zoom out, the corresponding infection rate appears on the map.

Book a cab

If you search Google Maps for the fastest way to your destination, you’ll find that cab apps are integrated alongside public transportation. You can even find e-scooters.

Ordering food or reserving tables in a restaurant

Restaurants have always been listed in Google Maps. Meanwhile, you can also order food and have it delivered. In some restaurants you can even reserve tables directly. Then a corresponding button appears when you click on the restaurant.

Monitor occupancy of stores

For those who want to avoid the rush of customers in stores, the of the occupancy in stores is particularly suitable. In addition to the opening hours, it also shows the times of the day when the stores are particularly busy. However, these are projections that Google has obtained based on Android users who have shopped there over time. Thus, the data cannot always be transferred one-to-one.

Planning routes on the computer with Google Maps

Die Desktop-Variante von Google Maps bietet oft noch mehr Funktionen als die App. Und vor allem: mehr Overview und Komfort. Routen können problemlos am PC geplant und dann an das Smartphone geschickt werden. Außerdem ist es über die Desktop-Variante möglich, eigene Karten zu erstellen.

Find bike paths and measure altitude

Cyclists also have a better overview in the desktop version. Clicking on “Bike” in the menu makes all bike paths appear. After entering a destination, Maps also suggests a bike route. The service also shows the elevation profile of the route.

Navigate without Internet or GPS

The route is selected, you want to start walking, but the GPS signal is weak or missing. The augmented reality function helps here by showing the route on the display from the user’s point of view. Stores and house fronts, for example, can be used for orientation. If you are traveling abroad or want to save mobile data, you can download important maps to your smartphone and use them offline.

But Google also collects data about the Maps function

Google Maps users get a huge range of functions, but also leave countless data to the service. Those who want to limit this can switch to the so-called incognito mode and turn off location sharing. However, some functions can then no longer be used – or at least not as conveniently.


Google Maps