Now Google Maps can be used for a half-dozen new tasks, including finding musicians to gig with, planning a GPS-guided bicycle trip in Europe, and finding and booking hotel rooms.
Google engineers and partners are always
adding innovative ways to show off what Google Maps can do to help consumers
every day, and the latest additions include some really cool new ideas, from
helping musicians find each other to giving bicyclists in 10 foreign countries
a way to set out on trips using GPS navigation on their Android mobile phones.
Here are the six new Google Maps services that
have been recently unveiled.
GPS Navigation for Cyclists
Already available for use in the United
States, Google has now expanded its GPS-enabled mobile maps app to include
bicycle trip routing in 10
nations in Europe
. Using this cool app, which is available through Google's
Play store, Android users can now strap their phones to their bicycle
handlebars and follow route directions turn-by-turn, according to a post from
Larry Powelson, a Google Maps software engineer, on the Official Google Blog
. They can even get voice-guided navigation
through the app.
"Whether you're a seasoned century rider or a
casual beach cruiser, finding the best biking routes can be a challenge," wrote
Powelson. "That's why today we're bringing mobile biking directions and
navigation to the 10 countries where we launched desktop
biking directions last month
(Australia, Austria, Belgium, Denmark,
Finland, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the U.K.). Plus,
we're adding turn-by-turn, voice-guided biking navigation to Google
Maps Navigation (beta)
in every country with biking directions."
Google Maps added biking directions to their
maps for the United States and Canada in 2010, with more destinations to come
in the future.
"Today, there are more than 330,000 miles
(equal to more than 530,000 kilometers, or half a gigameter) of green biking
lines in Google Maps," wrote Powelson. "Dark-green lines on the map show
dedicated bike trails and paths with no motor vehicles, light-green lines show
streets with bike lanes and dashed green lines show other streets recommended
for cycling. Biking navigation even helps you avoid steep hills."
Find a Fellow Musician
Musicians always seem to be looking for
like-minded players to gig with so they can share their music and expand their
opportunities. That's where the new MusoMap
comes in, which was built as an interactive
Google Map where musicians can join
to seek out others nearby with whom
they can meet for gigs.
"A useful tagging system makes it very easy
to find musicians who play a particular instrument," according to a post on the
Google Maps Mania
blog. "You can use
the search function to center on a location on the map or to refine the results
shown by instrument or by musical genre. Users can send private messages to
other musicians shown on the map, post on other musicians' profiles or use the
chat function to talk with other registered members."
Book a Hotel Room with Google Maps
Need to make a hotel reservation? Now you can
use Google Maps directly using the Mapov.com
which is a Google Maps-based search engine that can help
travelers find and book hotels
Users enter the name of their destination,
which then displays a Google Map showing all available hotels, according to a post
on the Google Maps Mania
displayed hotels can be refined by date, price, number of stars, TripAdvisor
rating and by amenities."
Users can click a quick link at the
bottom of each window to book hotel rooms, and they can select from several booking
Add Fun Decorations to Google Street View
Images of Your House
Want to have some silly fun and dress up the
images of your house that are visible to the world in Google Street View? Well,
now you can do just that with a little app that lets you add some true decor
with a few keystrokes.
you to pimp up your house by adding some bling
to its Google Maps Street
View image," according to a post on the Google
blog. It's reminiscent of the old Colorforms toy sets, where you
could "paste" in everything from people to objects and create fun scenes.
"Using the application you can find your
house on Google Maps Street View and then drag and drop a number of items onto
the static image of your house," according to the blog post. "Once you have
completed decorating your house, you are given a nice short URL to the finished
image so you can share your pimped up house with your friends via your favorite
Note: It's possible that you will need to use
the Google Chrome browser to get this to work, the post states.
Take a Google Map Quiz
Google Maps aren't just great for mapping out
routes for trips. The information
you get can also be educational
. That's where the Uncharted.fm country quiz
comes in, according to a post on the Google
is a great
way to learn about and explore the countries of the world with Google Maps,"
states the post. "The quiz takes you through progressive stages exploring
different continents and parts of the world. In each stage of the quiz users
are shown a number of countries on Google Maps and told the name of each
country. The user is then tested on the countries they have been shown."
The site uses audio and text to reveal the correct answer if the user answers
incorrectly, so that their learning is reinforced as the quiz progresses. The
site also provides fascinating information about each country, including
images, Wikipedia information and basic facts about the country, according to
the post. Users can also link their Uncharted.fm accounts to their Facebook
accounts so they can post their scores and compete with their friends.
Use Google Maps to Find Zip Codes
If you ever need to find
zip codes for specific neighborhoods
, now you can use the Google Maps-based
Zip Code Catcher to make it easier, according to a post on the Google Maps
Mania Blog. Zip
includes two drawing tools that allow users to plot out
the areas where they are searching for zip codes.
Once you make your selections, you can click
the download button to save a .CSV file of all the zip codes in your selected
area. "The downloaded spreadsheet includes all the zip codes and the
city, state, latitude and longitude, the population and even the distance from
the center of your selected area for each zip code," according to the