How did we get anywhere before we had map apps on our cellphones? I suppose some of us had navigation systems installed in our cars, but most of us probably looked up directions on Map Quest and took the printout with us. Please tell me that I’m not the only one that occasionally got frustrated that those directions weren’t accurate, or a road had closed, or signage was bad … anything to make getting from point A to point B more difficult than it should be.
No more of that nonsense with today’s maps. Google Maps, one of the most popular navigation tools for directionally challenged individuals like myself, has just launched their latest update, and now it’s an even better tool for busy moms that are just trying to get everywhere they need to be on time.
Here are seven features that make Google Maps invaluable to busy moms.
Desktop to Mobile: If you’re signed into your Google account, you can map a route on your desktop before you take off, and it will automatically pull up on your cellphone. Brilliant! No more typing the address over again with your thumbs in the driveway.
Estimated Arrival Times: I love this feature on maps. It lets me know if I have time to lollygag around and hit the drive-thru for a Coke Zero, or if I need to step on it. It’s also the easiest way to let friends know where I am when en route to them. A quick screenshot fired off in a text (using Siri, of course, because hands free!) and they know when to expect me.
Traffic Reports: Not only does it show live traffic, it also shows what the typical traffic will be like at say, 3 P.M. on a Thursday afternoon. So if you have an appointment somewhere and you’re worried about how much time it will take to get there, you’ll know to leave a bit earlier if traffic is heavy then. Or, you know, schedule it for a different time.
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Rerouting: I use Waze on my iPhone as my nav system of choice, mostly because you get points for how much and how often you drive and I have a competitive nature, but also because it takes live data into account from other users and reroutes me around traffic or other roadblocks. It looks like Google is tapping into the Waze data and bringing the same feature to their maps.
Preview Pictures: If you’re really worried you’re going to make a wrong turn somewhere, you can preview your route before you go. It’ll almost be like you’ve been there before! OK, maybe not, but at least it will lend a little familiarity.
Event Listings: Get directions to the nearest movie theater and find out show times with the new “upcoming events” feature.
Tailored Recommendations: Google likes getting to know you and your preferences. If you search a local Starbucks a few times, it just starts showing you where they are. Or a particular brand of gasoline. Whatever you like -- your map likes too.
Do you use a map app to find your way around?
Image via Daniel Flathagen/Flickr