Google Maps App Tricks for Android, iPhone, iPad

Google wants users to get the most out of their Google Maps mobile apps with these helpful tips for zooming, using offline maps and more.

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Google in July released new versions of their Google Maps apps for Android, iPhone and iPad users, and now the search giant wants to ensure that users are getting all the best built-in features from the updated apps.

To help with the transition, Stephanie Zhan, a Google Maps summer intern, put together a list of six of the best tips in an Aug. 5 post on the Google Lat Long Blog.

"We hope you've had a chance to explore the new Google Maps app for Android, iPhone and iPad," wrote Zhan. "Within the new simple interface, we've added lots of new features and functionalities, so I wanted to share some tips and tricks that can help you get the most out of your new Google Maps app."

Among Zhan's tips is an alternate way to zoom in on map images, beyond just pinching the screen with your fingers to zoom in. The updated apps also allow users to double-tap on a map, hold a finger to the screen, and then scroll up and down to zoom in and out, she wrote.

Using offline maps is also a bit different than in the past with the apps, wrote Zhan. "To access a map offline, open the map of where you're headed. Then, tap the search box and scroll up past the search suggestions. Select 'Make this map area available offline.'" So far, this capability is only for Android users, but it is coming soon for iPhone and iPad users.

To easily search for a local business or something you're craving, such as pizza, wrote Zhan, Android or iPhone users can select a search result and then swipe up and down the information sheet to find more information about the place they are perusing. "Or, swipe left and right to see more places. If you're on your tablet, just tap on one of your options to learn more about the place."

Users can also get up-to-the-minute recommendations for hotels, restaurants and things to do by tapping the search bar and then choosing "explore," she wrote. Users can then "browse suggestions by choosing a category: Eat, Drink, Shop, Play, or Sleep" to find what they are seeking.

To share your location using Street View, users can press and hold on the map to drop a pin onto the desired location. Users can then learn more information about the place where they are located, as well as get directions, check out Street View, and save or share the location by text or email, wrote Zhan.

Users who wish to leave their own reviews and ratings for businesses where they have done business can do so by searching for a business or restaurant, pulling up its info sheet and scrolling down to the "Rate and Review" section, according to Zhan. "Tap the number of stars you think the restaurant deserves, write an optional review, and then tap 'Publish.' Just remember, you need to be signed into Google Maps and have a Google+ account to write a review."