2 new features of Google Maps and where to find them


We’ll show you how Google Maps can help you navigate while on vacation.

Angela Lang / CNET

This story is part of 2021 Holiday Gift Guide, our list of ideas, by theme, by recipient and by price, to help you discover the ideal gift.

If you’ve just started your holiday shopping or haven’t purchased anything yet, it can be stressful trying to figure out where to go when crowds of other people are doing the same. Fortunately, you can use Google Maps to reduce stress while on vacation. For example, you can use the app to check how busy a store or restaurant is before you decide to go.

You can also use Google Maps to notify your family of your whereabouts when you’re late. Plus, you can book in advance through the app instead of calling a restaurant. We’ll walk you through all the ways Google Maps can help you have a smooth vacation and how to use the seven features.

New: Navigate Airports, Shopping Malls and Transit Stations

If you need to quickly find a store in a large mall, Google Maps is expanding its Phone book tab for all airports, shopping centers and transit stations, he announced in november. This can help avoid running around the airport, trying to find a place to eat, or grab a last minute souvenir before you catch your flight. The tab will tell you the hours of operation and the floors on which it is located. You can browse restaurants, shops, lounges and parking lots.

New: Browse Google Maps to see how busy a place is

Google has added a new feature to its The Google Maps occupancy tool. Previously, you had to search for a location, like a business, to see a graph that showed how crowded it was in real time. But now a new feature called Occupied Area lets you see when entire areas of the map are obstructed by people.

Using the new feature, you open the Google Maps app on your Android or iPhone (or your computer’s browser) and move around the map to find a general area, such as downtown, a river or a nearby picturesque town. Occupancy information will now automatically appear on the map, so you don’t need to specifically search for a location to see how crowded it is. Google Maps may say something like “Area occupied” and when you click to get more details it may say “As busy as possible”.

Follow your travel itinerary in Google Maps

Of course, Google Maps can plot your trips, but it can also quickly show you your vacation flight, hotel, car rental, and restaurant reservations, so you don’t have to search your email for check-in times. and confirmation numbers.

To see your next reservations:

1. In Google Maps, tap Checked in in the bottom row of the menu.

2. Faucet Reservations. Here you’ll see a list of upcoming reservations you’ve made that Maps pulled from emails in Gmail.

3. Select an item to learn more about the reservation, including date and location.

4. You can also search for “my reservations” in the Google Maps search box to see a list of what you have reserved.

Make a restaurant reservation directly in Google Maps

Planning and preparing a vacation dinner can be a multi-day chore. If you’d rather spend time with family and friends rather than sharp knives and hot stoves, Google Maps can help you book a reservation for lunch or dinner.

1. In Maps, tap the Restaurants at the top of the map to see a list of places to eat.

2. Select a restaurant that looks good, and in the window that appears, reserve a table or join a waitlist, if that gives you that option (not everyone).

Remember to use the ‘busy’ feature mentioned above to choose the least crowded spot. Also note that some restaurants are still closed for on-site dining, but will often allow delivery, curbside pickup, or outdoor seating.


Let friends and family know when you arrive by sharing your location.

Angela Lang / CNET

Use Google Maps offline

Heading to a remote location where you may not have a connection to the mobile network? Google Maps can still give you directions when you are offline.

1. Before you go, in Maps, find the location where you want to get directions.

2. In the location window, open the menu at the bottom.

3. Scroll right through the tabs and press To download then, in the next window, press To download again. Maps will download a map to your phone for the area you selected.

Now, when you use Google Maps for directions in the area for which you downloaded a map, when you lose your cellular connection, Maps will switch to the offline map to guide you. Since you are offline, Maps will of course not be able to provide you with real-time traffic information.

Find electric vehicle charging points and gas stations wherever you are

If you’re taking your EV out for shopping, dining, or going on vacation, Google Maps can help you find EV charging stations on your route, as well as estimated wait times for a charging port. . You can also filter your search by connector type – like J1772, CCS (Combo 1 or 2) and Tesla – to see only stations that are compatible with your EV. (Note that you can also search for gas stations by following these same instructions.)

1. In Maps, scroll through the tabs at the top of the screen and tap Following.

2. Scroll down to the Services section and select Electric vehicle charging.

3. The maps will show nearby charging stations and how many are available.

4. Press a charging station on the map for Maps to add as a stopover on your trip.

(You can also use this tip to find other places along your route, such as a cafe.)

Share your location via Google Maps

Is there anything crazier about a group activity than when the group breaks up and no one can find each other? Google Maps can help you find all of you.

1. In Google Maps, tap your profile icon in the top right corner and tap Position sharing.

2. Faucet Shared location and select who you want to share your location with and for how long you want to share it.

3. Faucet To share, and Google Maps will send your location to everyone you select.

4. If you want to see someone else’s location, tap that person’s icon at the top of the window, and then tap Request.

If, after all that, you’d rather stay indoors while on vacation, here’s how use your Prime benefits to your advantage when shopping. And if you’re not at all planning on leaving your couch, here are the best new TV shows to watch.


Comments are closed.