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Google Maps

What is Google Maps?

Google Maps is a web service that provides detailed information about geographical regions and sites worldwide. In addition to conventional road maps, Google Maps offers aerial and satellite views of many locations. In some cities, Google Maps offers street views comprising photographs taken from vehicles.

Google Maps offers several services as part of the larger web application. For example, a route planner offers directions for drivers, bikers, walkers and users of public transportation traveling from one specific location to another.

Supplemental services offer images of the moon, Mars and the heavens for hobby astronomers.

Screenshot of Google Maps on desktop
Example of Google Maps for desktop.

What is the Google Maps API?

The Google Maps application program interface (API) allows different software platforms to communicate with each other. For example, website administrators can embed Google Maps into a proprietary site, such as a real estate guide or community service page.

Screenshot of Google Maps on mobile
Example of Google Maps for mobile.

What is Google Maps for mobile?

Google Maps for mobile offers location services for motorists that use the Global Positioning System (GPS) location of an iOS or Android mobile device, if available, along with data from wireless and cellular networks.

What is Google Maps Go?

Google Maps Go is a lightweight version of the Google Maps mobile app that was first released for Android Go edition devices. It was explicitly designed to run seamlessly on devices with limited memory connected to unreliable networks -- without compromising speed, accurate directions, real-time traffic updates and transit information.

What is Google Maps Live View?

Google Maps Live View provides real-time Google Maps directions in a real-world setting. It is essentially a miniature map at the bottom of the screen. Users can also plan a journey to anywhere in the world, and get 3D images and live satellite views of the Earth.

What is Google Street View?

Google Street View enables users to view and navigate through horizontal and vertical panoramic street-level images of various cities around the world.

Screenshot of Google Street View on desktop
Example of Google Street View for desktop.

How do you measure distance on Google Maps?

To measure the distance between two points -- for example, a user's home and place of work -- open Google Maps and start by right-clicking at the starting point. Next, click Measure distance on the menu, and then click at the destination point to draw a line and measure the distance between both locations.

How do you download offline maps on Google Maps?

Maps can be downloaded for mobile access when a user is offline by tapping on the profile icon and then tapping Offline maps. A user can also tap Select your own map, and Google Maps will suggest maps based on history, upcoming trips and saved addresses. To download a specific map, pinch in and out to set the download area and tap Download.

How do you drop a pin in Google Maps?

To drop a pin in the Google Maps app, search for an address or scroll to find the location. Once a location is selected, long press on the screen to drop a pin.

How do you change the Google Maps voice?

Users can change the language, voice and accent in Google Maps. Go to Settings, tap Navigation settings, then Voice selection, and make the desired changes.

Screenshot of Google Maps GPS coordinates for Fountain Square in Cincinnati, Ohio
Determine GPS coordinates for locations in Google Maps on desktop by right-clicking on the location.

How do you change a home address in Google Maps?

In the Google Maps app, tap Saved at the bottom of the screen. Once in the Saved screen, scroll down to Your lists and then tap Labeled. The Labeled screen shows all the labeled places. Next to Home, tap the three dots and then Edit home. Finally, tap on the current address in the Set home address screen and clear it. Once removed, type in the new address and save it.

What is Google Maps Incognito mode?

Google Maps Incognito mode allows users to use the application without saving all the trip details to their Google Account. Think of it as a private browsing mode for real-world navigation that doesn't save or share user activity.

What is Google Maps Timeline?

Google Maps Timeline is essentially a historical estimate of all the places a user has been and the routes they took during the journey. Google Maps users can edit their Timeline anytime or delete their Location History in the Timeline settings. However, Timeline is private and can only be accessed by the user.

See also: GPS coordinates, GPS tracking, GPS navigation system, GPS tracking security, spatial data

This was last updated in September 2022

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