Search for Nearby Places with Your Voice
Face it: Fumbling with your phone while driving—and even walking—is a bad idea. You can still find what you need by searching with your voice. Launch the Voice Search app and say “Map of…” to pull up a map marked with nearby venues or businesses. Use building names, interstate headings, intersections, cross streets, zip codes, neighborhood names, and cities.
Calibrate Your Compass
It stinks to use Google Maps with a disoriented compass. Calibrate and be confident that up is up and down is down. Settings > Location > Calibrate compass.
Track Your Friends
Want to keep up with your friends using real-time tracking? Latitude displays the location of other Google account holders in Google maps. Download the Latitude app from the Market, then enable personal GPS tracking (so friends can track you too) at Google.com/Latitude. Launch the app and go meet your buddies.
Rate and Save Places, Yelp-Style
Now Google lets you share your expertise on local restaurants, bars, grocery stores, and other local businesses. Just launch the Google Places app (pre-installed on most new Android devices) and select Add to input a review of a new company or business.
Star Favorite Places
Using Google to find a new Vietnamese restaurant or a store to buy running shoes? When you find a great place, star the venue’s Place page. Your list of starred places can be accessed—along with business info such as hours of operation, address, phone number, and GPS location—in Google Maps on your smart phone by pressing the Menu key > Starred Places.
Use My Location to Find Nearby Venues and Businesses
Many of the smart phone searches we conduct are for businesses and services in our area. Set up your smart phone to leverage your location during search. That way, you get results that matter to you most. Settings > Search > Google Search > Use My Location.
Create a GPS Shortcut on Your Home Screen
Did you know you could have an often-traveled GPS route on the home screen of your device? Plus, you can use the shortcut to check traffic before you start the trip, and, if needed, plan a different route.
On any home screen, press and hold down your finger. Then select Shortcuts from the Add to Home Screen menu. Choose Directions & Navigation. By default, your current location is your starting point. You will need to enter a destination. Name the route, select an icon for the home screen shortcut, and hit Save.
Now a GPS icon is added to the home screen. Tapping it opens the route in Google Maps Navigation, complete with color-coded, up-to-the-minute traffic assessments. If your route looks overrun by traffic jams (outlined in red), try rerouting. Hit the Menu button, select Route Info, then tap the Reroute icon.
Google Maps presents three alternatives listed across the top of the window. Pick your course, and you’ll be on your way.