Whether you’re hunting down the best hole-in-the wall restaurant on your block, planning a cross-country road trip that hits your favorite national parks or in the mood to tackle your to-do list, Google Maps is here to help you play and plan.
Here are Google Maps tips — including features new and old — for the modern foodie, adventurer and go-getter in you.
The modern foodie 🍔
Nothing makes you happier than discovering new flavors or sharing your latest recipes. Here’s how Google Maps can fuel the foodie in you.
- Keep tabs on the restaurant scene: Along with details like operating hours and COVID-19 safety precautions in Google Maps, you can also see every foodie’s favorite info: trending dishes. Check out a restaurant’s Business Profile on Maps to get the scoop on things like a restaurant’s most popular dishes and reviews.
- Make sure your entree arrives piping hot:Have a craving for your favorite ramen dish? Perfectly time your pickup or set the table before your meal arrives with live takeout and delivery status information. See expected wait times for your order, delivery fees, and live status right from Maps.
- Whip up a home-cooked meal — sans grocery checkout lines:Need to grab some last-minute feta for that trending pasta dish? Check out a grocery store’s Business Profile to see things like pickup and delivery availability, fees and order minimums. (This is available for select Albertsons Cos. stores and Instacart partners on mobile Search — but expect to see it on Maps later this year!)
The adventurer 🧗
Do you have the urge to take every fork in the road and leave no trail untraveled? On the road to adventure, Google Maps can help guide the way — no matter where you’re going.
- Be prepared for all conditions:There’s nothing like a surprise rain storm to dampen adventure. Use the new weather and air quality layers to your advantage. See current weather conditions and temperatures, or check the air quality better plan your fresh-air outings.
Don’t miss your train or plane with Indoor Live View:Airports and train stations can feel like a maze. Starting this summer in Zurich and Tokyo, use AR cues to see where the nearest platform, gates, elevator and escalators are, as well as baggage claim, restrooms, and ATMs.
Pedal to your next adventure:Planning a hill climb or beach cruise ride? Check how flat or steep a route will be with biking directions. And if you don’t have a two-wheel companion, you can accessbike-sharing stations in more than 100 cities thanks to integrations with CitiBike, Lyft and Lime integrations.
Tabs are your new tick list:Use the tabs at the bottom of the app to keep track of your travel bucket list and find your next must-see destination! Check out the Updates tab to see trending, must-see spots from local experts and publishers — so you can find the best things to do no matter where you are.
Remember where you’ve been: From the new trailhead you found to the hidden campground you want to revisit, we love to use Saved Places to view all these spots in one place. It’s perfect for reminiscing and sharing recommendations with friends.
The go-getter 🤸
You have two speeds: fast and faster. Nothing beats the high of getting it done and getting it done right. Between running your daily earrings and crossing things off your to-do list, Google Maps is here to help.
- Dodge the crowds at all costs:Time errands around crowds with transit crowdedness information. (Bonus: it makes it easier to social distance!) Search for a station in Google Maps or tap on the station in the map to see things like departure times and crowdedness predictions.
Knockout errands when lines are short:Want to avoid that grocery store line? Look at Google Maps’ busyness information to get a sense for how busy a place tends to be and plan accordingly.
Zip through the mall:Need to drop off a return or pick up a last-minute gift? Hold up your phone and use AR to find a store so you can get in and out in a snap. Indoor Live View is now available at select malls in the U.S.
Tap and go with contactless payments:Efficiency is every go-getter’s goal. Pay for things like street parking or public transit right from Google Maps, without having to pull out your wallet or touch public services. For street parking, type in your meter number, hit pay and refill while you’re out and about. For public transportation, a pay option will pop up once you arrive at any public transit, then tap your phone to pay.
Book away: Need to book anappointment, class, or reservation? Search for the business, check upcoming availability and book right from Google Maps. If you need to change something, manage upcoming reservations and bookings within the Saved tab of the Maps app.
When Ashley Sundquist moved to Santa Monica, California four years ago, she noticed something different from the other places she’d lived. “I’ve lived in big cities much of my adult life; I’ve lived in Washington, D.C., Rome and New York City,” she says, “and none of those places prepared me for how many people here in Santa Monica are unhoused.” Santa Monica is part of the greater Los Angeles area, and according to city statistics, 907 people experience homelessness on any given night in the city; if you widen the area to include all of L.A., that number skyrockets to approximately 66,000.
During her morning commute, Ashley noticed how many people were living outside and gathering at the Santa Monica Public Library. Her gym was next door, and eventually, Ashley started crossing the street to say hello. Soon, she’d made connections with library employees and the people without homes who gathered there, and she began looking for ways to help.
She also became friends with a man named Joe, an unhoused member of the community who was often at the library. Joe mentioned he struggled with getting lost, which inspired her to turn to Google Maps and the app’s list feature. You can use this to create a list of places, like your favorite restaurants or places you want to visit on vacation. As an active member of the Local Guides program, a global community of contributors on Google Maps, Ashley was no stranger to sharing helpful information about her community with others.
So Ashley started creating lists for people in need. She made lists of resources for young people experiencing homelessness, food banks and restaurants that accept EBT cards. To make things even easier to find, Ashley bought the domains “lashelters.org” and “lashelters.com,” which send visitors to these lists. “Now when anybody in the world goes to one of those websites, they’ll see these maps,” Ashley says. Joe and Ashley also became friends, and he helped get the word out about the websites.
When the COVID-19 crisis hit, Ashley had to pivot. Right away she volunteered her time to teach caseworkers (via Google Meet) how to create their own lists in Google Maps. “I walked them through step-by-step how to search for locations, update the description and share the URL,” she says. She also created a list to help people find free Wi-Fi after many restaurants, coffee shops and other places that offer internet access closed their doors, and another list to help people find transportation to shelters when COVID-19 precautions altered bus schedules.
Still, things changed so dramatically so quickly; she wanted to do more. “Toward the end of last March, I realized things weren’t going to go back to the way they were anytime soon. I knew how our outreach efforts were going to have to be different.” She started consulting with local agencies to gather information for more lists, or update the ones she’d already made with new COVID-19-related restrictions, changing hours or other stipulations.
“I hope this can help people get through their day with dignity and humanity. That’s what we’re all trying to do right now.”
Eventually she wanted to try getting the information she’d gathered out in person. In May, she started volunteering at a weekly dinner serving some 150 unhoused neighbors at her local Salvation Army. Soon, she began leading dinners and helped her church get more involved. “We have 20 or so volunteers, with masks, temperature checks, distanced, all of that,” she says. “It’s a huge undertaking but I feel like it gives me a captive audience. Our team can bring a little light and love into a very dark place. We can help people find local resources on the Google Maps lists.”
Ashley greets everyone as they wait in line for their meal and makes an effort to learn names. “It might be the only time someone speaks to them or uses their name that week,” she explains. “I really work to build a rapport so then I can say to them, ‘Oh I see you’re having trouble getting this or finding that.’” Then she takes out her phone and shares her Google Maps lists on the spot. Ashely notes that many people without homes have smartphones, which act as their lifelines, but if she’s speaking with someone without one, Ashley uses her own to access her lists to call and try to help get them what they need — whether it’s a spot at a shelter or a no-cost doctor appointment.
“People are dealing with homelessness, trauma, hunger, mental health issues, technology barriers…I feel like the least I can do is make the available resources easier to find with a Google Maps list,” she says.
Ashley’s hope is that her neighbors feel seen and cared for, and that the Google Maps lists help them meet their basic needs. “I don’t think people realize how tremendously difficult it is to get help when you’re experiencing homelessness,” she says. “I hope this can help people get through their day with dignity and humanity. That’s what we’re all trying to do right now.”
With all the change our world saw over the past year, people are relying more than ever on high-quality, updated information about the places around them — like if a nearby restaurant is open or if a local grocery store has updated hours.
To make sure your map reflects the real world, we make it easy for anyone with a Google account to contribute their local knowledge about more than 200 million places in Google Maps. These community-led updates help people everywhere make better decisions about what to do and where to go. And at the heart of the fresh information you see on Google Maps are Local Guides. This community of contributors who help others by updating Google Maps has reached a new milestone: 150 million Local Guides around the world.
Today, we’re introducing three new Google Maps features that will help make sharing and finding local recommendations and information easier.
Leave reviews and updates as part of a community challenge
We see people showing love and support for local businesses in Google Search and Maps by leaving photos, writing reviews or updating factual information like a store’s new hours. We want to amplify that same local love with a feature we are now piloting.
For the next month, most people using Android in the U.S. can join our first nationwide challenge to rally helpful reviews, photos and updates from sea to shining sea. Simply jump into the Contribute tab in Google Maps to join the “Local Love challenge” and add ratings, reviews and confirm information to support local businesses you’ve visited, from your go-to bakery to the neighborhood hardware store. Each contribution will count toward a collective goal of updating 100,000 businesses. We’ll use feedback on the Local Love challenge to guide future campaigns in more countries.
Share your latest experiences with photo updates on Maps
Seeing is believing and photos are a great way to learn more about a place. But sometimes you need a little more information, like if a restaurant’s outdoor dining area is shaded on hot days or how crowded a parking lot for a popular hiking trail can get on the weekends. At other times, you might just want to share a helpful tip on Google Maps without having to leave a rating or review. In the coming weeks, we’ll roll out a new content type in Google Maps: photo updates — an easy way to find and share experiences and highlights with recent photos. A Google Maps photo update is a recent snapshot of a place with a short text description, without the need to leave a review or rating.
Simply go to the “Updates” tab when you’re looking at a place in Google Maps to see the latest photos that merchants and other people have shared. To add your own update, tap the “upload a photo update” button, select your photos, leave a short description and post. You can post as many photos as you want and find photo updates that others have left in the Updates tab.
Draw new or missing roads on Maps
We’ve made it easier for you to report road changes with a new, immersive desktop road editing tool. When you see a road missing on maps.google.com, simply click on the side menu button, go to “Edit the map”, and select “Missing Road.” Now the power to map is in your hands!
Add missing roads by drawing lines, quickly rename roads, change road directionality, and realign or delete incorrect roads. You can even let us know if a road is closed with details like dates, reasons and directions. To make sure the suggestions and edits are accurate, we’ll vet contributed road updates before publishing them.
This feature is rolling out over the coming months in more than 80 countries where people can already report road updates on Google Maps.
A growing community on Google Maps
Since we launched the Local Guides program six years ago, Local Guides have contributed more than 70% of the reviews, photos and other types of user-generated content you see on Google Maps. They’re people like Leyley from Texas who is passionate about supporting small businesses, and Mahabub in Bangladesh who hosts local meet-ups focused on things like sustainability and supporting people during COVID-19.
In 2020 alone, Local Guides added more than 8 million places to Google Maps, from local businesses and services to parks and plazas. And during a year where we saw much change, they went above and beyond and updated business attributes on more than 17 million places in Maps, like if a restaurant offers takeout or is open for dine-in.
If you’ve discovered something new in Google Maps or found helpful information about a place, chances are it was with the help of a Google Maps Local Guide.
Lydia Kluge is an active member of the Google Maps Local Guides community, the everyday people passionate about sharing their experiences on Maps. In 2020, she added more than 1,100 contributions on Google Maps in the form of reviews, photos, and places. Coincidentally, Lydia also hiked, ran, and biked 1,100 miles last year. All those adventures earned her the well-deserved Expert Trailblazer and Expert Fact Finder badges on Google Maps.
But Lydia’s journey has been full of adventures long before 2020. Originally from England, Lydia landed in Utah in 2005 for what was meant to be a six-month stint as a ski instructor. She’s been there ever since after falling in love with (and on) the slopes where she met her now-husband.
Over the past fifteen years, the couple traveled to over 30 countries. Along the way, Lydia used Google Maps to find hidden gems — from the best restaurants in Paris to snorkeling spots in Australia.
In 2019, Lydia and her husband welcomed their beautiful baby girl into their family and couldn’t wait to travel with her. But COVID-19 changed their international jet-setting plans. Like many of us, Lydia’s spending more time closer to home. She’s explored Utah’s mountains, deserts, and national and state parks. And, just like in her international travels, Google Maps has been her companion. She’s added and reviewed dozens of nature trails, trailheads, and parks, and created lists of family-friendly activities in Utah. “One thing I’ve missed about working outside of the home is how I can contribute to others and my community,” Lydia said. “Adding these things to Google Maps is a way I can give back.”
Here are Lydia’s tips on how to use Google Maps to explore natural attractions near you:
Find parks and hiking trails on Google Maps
Search outdoor terms like “hiking trails” or “parks near me” to find nearby treks. For most hiking trails, you’ll be able to find ratings, reviews and photos from other hikers. Some may also have useful details like open hours and phone numbers. You can also use the Lists feature on Google Maps to see curated recommendations, like Lydia’s Things to See and Do in St. George and Food and Fun in Park City. Simply search for a town and scroll down to see Featured Lists.
Quickly sort through reviews to find popular topics or search for specific words
Lydia leaves detailed reviews on parks and hikes with searchable terms like “family,” “steep,” or “kid-friendly.” Search for specific words to quickly sort through reviews and get a better sense of the place. If you want an idea of what most people are talking about, you can see a list of popular keywords in reviews — from “banana slug” and “poison ivy” to “parking lot” and “sunset.”
Preview your trek with photos
Lydia has left more than 3,500 photos on Google Maps that have been viewed more than 25 million times. To get a sense of what your outdoor trip will look like, browse photos that people like Lydia have uploaded. Sort photos to see the latest, pan through Street View and 360-degree images, and even see videos. Pay it forward to the next trekker and leave photos of what made your hike memorable.
Add and update hiking areas yourself
Some trails may not have traditional signage and could be hard to find. If you know where an unmarked (or poorly marked) trailhead is, you can confirm that the pin locations are in the appropriate spot. To do so, open your Google Maps app and navigate to the place. Tap “suggest an edit” to update information about the hiking area.
To follow Lydia’s adventures, check out and follow her Google Maps profile.
For many of us, Google Maps is the place we go for information about the world around us. We search for businesses, seek directions, check photos and read reviews.
One way Maps is kept accurate and reliable is through updates that everyday people add. Since we started accepting contributed content in 2010, more than 970 million people have updated Google Maps in the form of reviews, photos, ratings and factual information like addresses and business hours. These contributions allow Google Maps to keep up with the world constantly changing around us and also help people make more informed decisions.
Just as Google Maps is a reflection of the real-world, so are the people that contribute to it. The same neighbor who lends a hand could also be writing witty reviews of local restaurants. Unfortunately, the opposite is also true. Just as there are bad actors in the real-world, there are those who try to game Google Maps with inappropriate content — the vast majority of which is removed before you see it.
While much of our work to prevent inappropriate content is done behind the scenes, we wanted to share some detail about our investments and progress in keeping Google Maps reliable and trustworthy.
How we single out the bad actors
Bad actors try to mislead people through a variety of techniques, from fake reviews that attack a business to inauthentic ratings that boost a place’s reputation. Fighting this unhelpful content is a complex, ceaseless battle — one that we rarely detail publicly so as to not tip off scammers to our ever-changing techniques.
One of the best tools we have to fight back is an understanding of what normal, authentic Google Maps usage looks like. For example, we know that the average person is likely to use Google Maps while navigating a commute or road trip, and while searching for nearby restaurants or services. They’ll leave reviews at places they’ve been, and usually add ratings or photos in location-specific clusters.
Observations like these inform our machine learning algorithms, which scan millions of daily contributions. These algorithms detect and remove policy-violating content across a variety of languages, and also scan for signals of abnormal user activity. For instance, they can detect if a new Google Maps account in say, Bangkok, suddenly leaves bad car dealership reviews in Mexico City and 1-star restaurant ratings in Chicago. The policy-violating content is either removed by our automated models or flagged for further review, along with the user account.
We also deploy thousands of trained operators and analysts who help with content evaluations that might be difficult for algorithms, such as understanding reviews with local slang.
Who are the bad actors and how do we stop them?
Our teams and protections are built to fight two main types of bad actors: content fraudsters and content vandals.
Fraudsters, who are ultimately motivated by money, try to trick people with scams like fake reviews to attract customers or fake listings to generate business leads. To deter them, we preemptively remove opportunities for them to profit off of fake content.
For example, we have focused efforts on detecting content coming from click farms where fake reviews and ratings are being generated. Through better detection of click farm activity we are making it harder to post fake content cheaply, which ultimately makes it harder for a click farm to sell reviews and make money. And to catch fake business profiles before they appear on Maps, we’ve strengthened our Google My Business verification processes with new machine learning models that help identify fraudulent engagement. By fighting large-scale efforts to create fake business profiles, we’ve stymied millions of attempts from fraudsters aiming to steal customers from legitimate businesses by crowding them out of search results.
Then there are content vandals, who may be motivated by social and political events or simply want to leave their mark online. For example, they post fake reviews or edit the names of places to send a message, and they add off-topic photos as pranks.
Content vandalism can be more difficult to tackle as it’s often random. For instance, a teenager who posts an off-topic photo to their high school’s listing on Maps as a joke or someone who left profanity in a nonsensical review.
Impeding content vandals comes down to anticipation and quick reaction. As places become more prone to vandalism, we adjust our defenses. For instance, last year we quickly modified our algorithms to preemptively block racist reviews when we observed anti-Chinese xenophobia associated with COVID-19. To avoid the spread of election-related misinformation, we limited the ability for people to edit the phone numbers, addresses and other information for places like voting sites. And we restricted reviews for certain places where we saw higher rates of policy-violating content, like schools in the U.S.
Our progress in fighting unwelcome content
With the help of people and technology that closely monitor Maps 24/7, we’re able to take swift action against scammers, ranging from content removal and account suspension to litigation. In 2020 alone, we took the following actions to ensure the content you see in Google Maps is reliable:
- We blocked or removed 55 million policy-violating reviews and nearly 3 million fake Business Profiles. This is 20 million fewer reviews than we removed in 2019 as we saw a drop in the overall number of reviews due to fewer people being out and about during COVID-19.
- We took down more than 960,000 reviews and more than 300,000 Business Profiles that were reported to us by Google Maps users. This is an increase over 2019 largely due to increased use of automated moderation which complements the manual review of flagged content performed by operators and analysts.
- We reviewed and removed more than 160 million photos and 3.5 million videos that either violated our policies or were of low quality. For example, thanks to advancements in our automated systems, we’ve significantly improved our detection of photos that were extremely blurry. This has led to major improvements in the quality of photos on Maps – both new photos added and ones shared in years past. And as we more aggressively targeted bad actors overall, account removals could lead to deletion of all content left by one account, in some cases thousands of photos.
- Our technologies and teams disabled more than 610,000 user accounts after detecting and investigating suspicious or policy-violating behavior.
- We stopped more than 3 million attempts by bad actors to verify Business Profiles on Google that didn’t belong to them.
Content contributed by our users is an important part of how we continue to make Google Maps more helpful and accurate for everyone. As more people share their local knowledge on Google Maps, we’ll continue to invest in the policies, technologies and resources needed to make sure information is reliable.
People all over the world turn to Google Maps to get things done — especially during the pandemic. From booking an online yoga class to ordering takeout from your favorite restaurant —Google Maps is a powerful sidekick that lets you accomplish tasks all throughout your day. Today, we have new tools in collaboration with Google Pay to help you get more done when you’re on the go: the ability to pay for street parking and transit fares right from Google Maps, without ever taking out your wallet.
Keep it clean and easy 🧼 🖐️
These days, people are upping their hand sanitizing game and avoiding touching public surfaces as much as possible. Thanks to an integration with parking solutions providers Passport and ParkMobile, you can now easily pay your meter right from driving navigation in Maps, and avoid touching the meter altogether. Simply tap on the “Pay for Parking” button that appears as you near your destination. Then enter your meter number, the amount of time you want to park for, and tap “Pay.” Need to add more time to your meter? Easily extend your parking session with just a few taps.
Save time and grab a ride 🚌🏃
We’re expanding the ability to pay for transit fares for over 80 transit agencies around the world. Now you’ll be able to plan your trip, buy your fare, and start riding without needing to toggle between multiple apps. You can understand how to pay in advance and even get your fare ready to go before you arrive at the station – which is helpful when you’re not sure what payment options a transit agency supports. When you get transit directions, you’ll see the option to pay with your phone with the credit or debit cards already linked to your Google Pay account. And in places like the San Francisco Bay Area, you’ll also be able to buy a digital Clipper card directly from Google Maps. Once you’ve purchased your fare, all you need to do is tap your phone on the reader or show your digital ticket to breeze on board.
No matter how you’re getting around these days, Google Maps can help you get there effortlessly. Pay for parking starts rolling out today on Android in 400+ cities in the U.S, (including Boston, Cincinnati, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Washington D.C, and more) with iOS coming soon. The ability to pay for transit from Google Maps expands to 80 agencies globally on Android in the coming weeks.
Today on Safer Internet Day, I’m sharing some handy tips on how you can be more in control of your Google Maps experience and help other people find great places around them.
I’ve been a Google Maps program manager since 2012, and have explained a lot of the features in Maps to our global community of Local Guides, the everyday people who are passionate about sharing their experiences on Google Maps. And I’m a huge Google Maps devotee and superuser myself. Over the last 11(!) years, I’ve posted more than 2,000 reviews and gathered more than 275 million views on my Maps photos. So if there’s a feature in Google Maps, chances are I’ve used it.
From built-in protections in Google Maps to easy-to-use setting and privacy tools, here are 8 tips for features I use that will help you maximize your Maps experience:
1. Manage your Google Maps profile
To keep you in control of your data, Google Maps has built-in settings so you can easily manage and personalize your Google Maps profile. You can update your settingsto not show your reviews, photos, and posts on your public Maps profile.
2. Easily change your display name
While I’m not a famous restaurant critic or celebrity, I like that I can control when and where I use my last name, so that I’m just “Traci” on Google Maps. You, too, can easily change your display name across Google products and services. Go ahead, pick your nom de plume.
3. Respect the privacy of others in photos
Photos are my absolute favorite way to contribute to Google Maps. One thing I’m always careful to do is to not post photos that show the faces of people nearby. Plus, I’d rather see a place’s decor or accessibility information over a bunch of strangers 😉
4. Report questionable content
From reviews and ratings to photos and listings, the vast majority of the information other people add to Maps is helpful and accurate. But if you ever come across a review or a business listing that looks odd or inappropriate, you can quickly report the content or the person who posted it.
5. Share your location with your inner circle
Even though I’m not traveling as often as I used to, when I do, I like to share my real-time locationwith my closest friends and family so someone always knows where I am. I also love that they can follow along with my travels when I visit a new country.
6. Manage your Timeline
Timeline is a handy feature in Maps that helps you see places you’ve been if you’ve opted to turn your Location Historysetting on (it’s off by default). With it, I’m able to easily reminisce about past trips (remember traveling?!) and share recommendations with friends and family. With tools like bulk delete and in-line edits, you can easily add, edit or deletethe information in your Timeline with just a few taps.
7. Easily access key Google Account settings and auto-delete controls
I love that I don’t have to leave Google Maps to control my Google account settings. With Your data in Maps, you can quickly access your Location History, Web & App Activity, and other Google privacy controls, right from Maps. You can also use auto-delete controls to save only 3 or 18 months worth of data – all data older than that is automatically deleted on a rolling basis.
8. Go Incognito
It can be helpful having personalized experiences across Google products, but if you prefer to fly under the radar, try Incognito mode in Maps. With it, your Maps activity on that device, like the places you search for, won’t be saved to your Google Account or used to personalize your Maps experience. You can easily turn on Incognito mode by selecting it from the menu that appears when you tap your profile photo. And you can turn it off at any time to return to a personalized experience with restaurant recommendations, information about your commute, and other features tailored to you.
The beginning of the year is often viewed as a fresh start. But in many ways, January feels like the thirteenth month of 2020! We turned to Google Maps search insights (December 2019-January 2020 vs. December 2020-January 2021) to see how Americans are handling tried-and-true New Year’s resolutions. Find out how common resolutions — like traveling, drinking less, eating better and working out more — are holding up in the midst of COVID-19.
Travel, but make it local
Americans seem to be feeling a sense of wanderlust, but it’s focused more on local travel than it was in January 2020. Last year, Maps searches for international destinations rose by over 65% compared to the previous month – with people searching for warm-weather places like Australia, Costa Rica and the Philippines. This year, January searches for countries outside of one’s hometown stayed flat — increasing by a mere 1%, almost certainly due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.
In January 2020, Maps searches for island destinations increased by over 40% as people planned for some fun in the sun. This January, those searches are only up by a little over 10% compared to late last year. And searches for local bed and breakfasts have increased by 20%, indicating that Americans are searching for destinations closer to home instead of across the world.
Ski resorts are trending in a big way on Maps – likely because skiing is a socially distant activity with a chilly change of scenery. This January, Maps searches for ski resorts are more than twice as high as they were at the same time last year!
Dry January? Maybe not
“Dry January” is consistently one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions. Last January, searches on Maps for wine shops and liquor stores both plummeted by nearly 40% compared to the previous December. This year, those searches only dropped by 11% and 6% respectively, hinting that people may be less committed to abstaining.
People are showing an interest in eating healthy. Searches for “healthy” options spiked by 46% at the start of January compared to the previous December. But at the same time there’s another trend on the rise: people are also looking for sweets. Searches for ice cream shops are up by 10% compared to December. And, while searches for fast food restaurants plummeted by a whopping 20% in January 2020, they dropped by just 1.5% in 2021.
At-home workouts FTW!
Year-over-year searches for gyms have remained steady, increasing by about 25% in both 2020 and in 2021. However, while searches for hiking areas are still up this month compared to December, they’re significantly lower than they were in 2020 – a 16% increase compared to last year’s 55% increase. This could be due to local restrictions, or because more people are opting for one of the many at-home workout classes available online.
Resolutions or not, Google Maps is here to help. Whether you’re looking for healthy food or pints of ice cream, road trips or workouts you can do on your living room floor, here are some tips to help you keep up (or even break) your resolutions:
- Check out how local restaurants are operating: Before heading out of the house, use Google Maps to see if restaurants are offering things like dine-in services, takeout, or delivery. You can also see information about the extra safety precautions that restaurants are taking — like whether they have plexiglass at checkout or take guests’ temperatures upon arrival.
- Track your order (so your ice cream doesn’t melt!): It’s tough to get the timing right for takeout and delivery orders – and no one likes cold entrees or soupy ice cream. If you order food on Google Maps, you can now see the status of your order on your Google Maps app homepage so you know exactly when it’s ready for pickup or set to arrive at your doorstep.
- Borrow a bike: If stationary bikes aren’t your thing, check out Google Maps to find your nearest docked bikeshare location. Maps can give you walking directions to the bike, and cycling directions to your final destination – so you can explore the outdoors by foot and on two wheels!
- Take an online class: Whether you’re looking to workout more, connect with a financial advisor or pick up a new hobby, use Maps to find local businesses that offer online classes and appointments that you can take right from the comfort of your own home.
- Plan your next road trip: Travel restrictions are still up in the air, which means you might not be. If you’re itching to sightsee beyond your route to the grocery store, follow other Google Maps users to get their updates and recommendations directly in your app! Local Guides — like Denise Barlock who lives in a RV motorhome and travels across the U.S. — share regular contributions to Maps and can be great resources for planning a trip!
Electric vehicles (EVs) are growing in popularity. Still, planning a road trip with charge stops on route can feel like solving a puzzle. With an EV, you need to find recharging stations within range that also have your specific plug type and can recharge you as quickly as you need.
To take the guesswork out of trip planning and recharging, we’re rolling out three new features for EVs with Google Maps built in.
Taking the stress out of EV route planning
Newly developed routing algorithms that use a type of math called graph theory serve up stress-free routes and charging stop recommendations in the latest release of Google Maps that’s built into participating EVs, including the Polestar 2 and Volvo XC40 Recharge.
Now when you enter a destination that requires two or more recharge stops, algorithms in Maps will search and filter through tens to thousands of public charging stations to find the most efficient route — all in less than 10 seconds. You can see how long each charge will take and your updated total trip time, so your final ETA will never again be a mystery.
Hit the road with confidence
For shorter trips where only one charge is needed, like a Saturday hike or weekend getaway, you can select a charging station that best fits your needs from a list of recharge points in Google Maps.
You can see which charging stations are the fastest and select specific stations if you have a membership. You can also see if a charging spot is close to a grocery store or coffee shop, so you can knock out errands or recharge yourself with a latte while you wait.
The road ahead
In Europe we know it can be harder to find charging stations that will take your preferred form of payment. So Google Maps will show you what payment methods are accepted at stations in 12 countries throughout Europe, with more on the way.
These new features are now rolling out for cars with Google Maps built in — currently the Polestar 2 and Volvo XC40 Recharge — with more car models to come.
Every year when it gets colder outside,
I find myself waiting at the window wide-eyed.
I see wind and some rain, and I sometimes see ice,
But there’s one particular weather pattern that’s so seasonally nice.
It can be fluffy or sticky, and it’s often bright white,
And it’s usually the cause of a most festive fight.
When the temperature drops and the clouds look just so,
I pull out my ski jacket and get ready for—yes!—snow!
Now if you look outside and see no snowflakes in sight,
I have a travel solution that requires no flights:
You can journey to snowy lands all over the globe,
Use Google Maps Street View—you can even wear your bathrobe.
Visit this street in Norway, and imagine you hear,
The pitter-patter of strolling reindeer.
Then some miles south in Nuuksio, Finland,
You’ll see perfect snow that the Northern Lights skim.
Staying in Europe but moving farther east,
On a winter wonderland, your eyes will feast!
When you’re ready, we’ll head west to France,
And watch skiers fly down the snow in their dance.
Now if you thought things already looked cold,
Just wait until you check out the actual South Pole.
Things are much warmer for these monkeys in Japan,
They’ve got themselves a hot tub, all they need is a tan.
Thanks for joining me here, and listening to my poem,
Or perhaps, given the subject, you could call it a snow-em.