Tips for Searching Google Maps

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Tips for Searching Google Maps

by Clint Boulton

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Map Search

Whether you are looking for retail stores, malls, little boutique gift shops tucked away in the country, hotels or restaurants, Google Maps lets users search to find any place in relation to where you are at the moment or where you plan to go. Click on the map pins to find more info.

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Search Layers

Do two or more consecutive searches, and you'll see a blue bar at the bottom of the left panel. Click on it to turn on both searches. Every time you add another search, it will appear as a different color to help you distinguish which result is which. This helps you better plan your route. As you can see, you can throw a rock and hit an eatery in Times Square.

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Hot Spots

When you search for local information on Maps, results appear as small red dots on the map. As you drag the map and zoom in or out, the dots will repopulate the map. Click on them to see more info.

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Businesses Only

Want to weed out residences and other private places? The search options link to the right of the search box lets you whittle your search results to just businesses. Click it, select businesses from the pull-down menu and search away.

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Review Businesses

You can review businesses, too. Select a business from the Maps result by clicking on it and click the write a review option.

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Change It Up!

Unsatisfied by the results? Edit any location as a residence, business or your landmark.

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Save My Maps

Save items from your search results to your personal My Maps.

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Whats Here?

When you right-click on a search result and then click "what's here?" you should see the single most relevant result representing that location. The latitude/longitude coordinates are displayed at the top when we click on the address.

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Real Estate

You can now search for real estate listings on Google Maps and get really rich information in return. Click search options next to the search bar and select "real estate" from the pull-down menu.

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Report Problems

Available in the U.S. only, the Report a Problem link lets users suggest correct or better directions or Maps info for specific results. This can be accessed by right-clicking anywhere on the Maps results, or clicking the "report a problem" link at the bottom of the map and making your suggestions or edits.

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Going Somewhere?

Google Maps lets users get directions by car, public transit and even via walking.

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Multiple Routes

When there is more than one way to get from A to B, Google shows the route it believes to be the best, along with one or two additional routes. Check the "Suggested Routes" heading.

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Customize Directions

Click and drag any point on the blue directions line to any location on the map to customize your trip. Google Maps immediately re-creates the directions on both the map and left panel, and also updates the estimated travel time and distance.

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Preview Your Destination

Before you travel to a new destination, check out street-level imagery in Street View so you know what to expect when you get there. Drag Pegman—the little Street View icon—to your destination of choice and let go of the mouse button. Street View will fill the Google Map with an image of your destination.

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Check Live Traffic Info

Google Maps provides live and predictive traffic information for any day of the week and time of the day, based on past conditions.

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Plan a Trip with Public Transportation

Use Google Maps to get step-by-step transit directions and find transit stops in your area. Enter your starting address and destination, and click the pull-down menu underneath to select directions via public transit.

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Using Google Maps on Mobile Phones

Download Google Maps for mobile to your phone. Get driving and transit directions, as well as phone numbers and addresses for local businesses from your mobile phone.

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Google Maps Layers

The layers feature provides a variety of types of information overlaid on the map, including user photos, videos and Wikipedia articles. Here we selected more, then clicked the Wikipedia tab to see info about Stamford, Conn.

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Satellite Views

Looking beyond local? Turn on satellite view in the upper right hand corner of the map to see destinations all over the world.

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The Virtual Walking Tour

Street View helps you travel to a new place just by double-clicking on the place or object you would like to see. Drag Pegman to a spot and drop him, then double-click on any spot you wish to see what you want. It's like walking somewhere, without the, well, walking.

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User Photos in Street View

Browse user-contributed photos from Google's Panoramio technology at major landmarks around the world. Click the stack of thumbnail photos in the upper right-hand corner of a Street View scene in Google Maps to see pics of the area you're searching.

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Create a Map

Users can customize and annotate Google Maps with placemarks, lines and shapes, as well as text, embed photos and videos in your map, and share your maps with others. Click on the upper left My Maps tab in Google Maps (next to Get Directions), click create a new map and follow this example.

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Place Pages

A Place Page is a Web page for every place in the world, organizing all the relevant information about it. Just do a search for, say restaurants in an area, and click on the more info link after a restaurant listing. You'll be whisked to a more detailed Web page with reviews, ratings and other info about the destination.

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Map Maker

Map Maker, Map Maker, make me a map! Different from the custom map tool, Map Maker provides users tools to create and edit map features and improve the quality of maps and local information in 174 countries.

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