Tag Archives: Maps

Travel that last mile with Google Maps and Lime

You just got off your train and you have seven minutes to get to your first meeting on time—but it’ll take you 15 minutes to walk the rest of the way. You don’t have time to walk, your bus is delayed and the next ridesharing vehicle isn’t set to arrive for another 10 minutes. So close, yet so far. 

Today, we’re teaming up with Lime to help you find a better way to travel these short distances. In 13 cities around the world, you’ll now be able to see nearby Lime scooters, pedal bikes and e-bikes as a transportation option right from Google Maps. Simply navigate to your destination and tap on the transit icon to see your nearby options. If a Lime vehicle is available, you’ll see how long it’ll take to walk to the vehicle, an estimate of how much your ride could cost, and your total journey time and ETA. Tapping on the Lime card will take you right to the Lime app, where you can see the exact location of the vehicle and easily unlock it. If you don’t have the Lime app installed, you’ll be taken to the App or Play store.


Tap on the transit tab to see nearby Lime vehicles. Vehicle options vary by city.

You can now see Lime scooters and bikes on Google Maps on Android and iOS in Auckland, Austin, Baltimore, Brisbane (AU), Dallas, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, San Diego, Oakland, San Antonio, San Jose, Scottsdale and Seattle with more cities coming soon—so you can get to that meeting right on Lime.

Source: Google LatLong

The For You tab comes to iOS and over 130 countries on Android

It’s officially the holiday season, which means lots of time spent with friends and family. But all of that together time can sometimes leave you wondering “um...what should we do now?” After all, there are only so many board games you can play before a mini family feud breaks out.

Today, the For You tab is making its way over to Google Maps in over 40 countries on iOS and 130+ new countries on Android—helping you stay up to date on fun, new places so you’ll know exactly where to take the fam this winter. The For You tab is designed to be a constant source of inspiration tailored to your tastes and preferences. Simply follow neighborhoods or places you’re interested in to get updates and recommendations—everything from recent news about an opening or pop up, a new menu item, and even restaurant suggestions based on what you’re likely to enjoy. If you’re making a trip this holiday season, the For You can help you get a jump start on travel planning even before you take off.


The For You tab starts rolling out more widely today. Whether you’re staying local or traveling to a new city, let the For You tab be your guide for your next culinary adventure.

Source: Google LatLong

Live from the North Pole: what’s new at Santa’s Village

It’s the 15th year of Santa’s Village, an interactive holiday hub where you can play games to learn coding skills, create original artwork, exercise your geographic chops, and more. Here’s what’s new this year:

Entertain yours-elf with a new game🧝

With our Elf Maker, you can customize an elf from head to toe to make sure they’re stylin’ for all of the holiday shindigs happening on the North Pole this year. Choose an outfit, accessories, hairstyle, and even facial hair to add some flair to your little friend.

build and elf

Giving you a better way to follow Santa📍

One of the hardest parts about being married to Santa is that he always forgets to let me know where he is. This year, I’ve enlisted our elite team of cartographelves to let everyone know where he is as soon as he takes off from the North Pole. In the days leading up to Christmas, Santa will share his location with you on Google Maps so you can see his travels as he moves across the map. Follow along with him there or on our Santa Tracker dashboard on December 24 so you don’t miss his visit.

location sharing santa

Going global for the holiday season 🌎

From beaches to blizzards, you can get a better glimpse into how people all over the world are spending the holidays. You’ll see holiday photos from Local Guides and you can test your knowledge of holiday traditions with a festive quiz powered by Google Earth and Street View. Curious about how to say “Season’s Greetings” or “Happy New Year” in other languages? Check out our Translations game to take your snowmenclature to new heights.

translations game

These and other educational games, lesson plans, PDFs and instructional videos can be found in Santa’s Villagestarting this week. If you want more holiday fun, make sure to tell the Google Assistant to tell you a holiday story or starting December 23, ask, “Hey Google, where’s Santa?”. And make sure to keep things festive with new Gboard holiday stickers found on iOS and Android, and in the Santa Tracker Android App.

From the Claus family to yours, have a very happy holiday. And remember: you’re sleighing it. 👊

Don’t be a turkey: Use Google Maps to avoid traffic and crowds this Thanksgiving

Ah, Thanksgiving🦃.  A time for food, family, fun and the overwhelming stress that can come from getting stuck in holiday traffic. To make sure you make it to the festivities on time, we analyzed 2017 traffic data to pinpoint the best and worst times to leave for your Thanksgiving road trip—because there’s nothing worse than knowing that great Uncle Bobby is chowing down on your share of stuffing while you’re running late. And since lines can get long during the holidays, we’ve also identified when popular spots tend to be the most crowded so you can know exactly when to go to beat the rush. Interested in Thanksgiving traffic and search trends in your state? Check out our interactive site to take a deeper dive.

Beat the traffic 🚗

Getting to Thanksgiving dinner is always an adventure—but an understanding of Google Maps traffic patterns can help make your ride more predictable. Unsurprisingly, the day before Thanksgiving between 3-4pm is the worst time to hit the road, but traffic clears up significantly by 6am on Thanksgiving morning. After Thanksgiving, try your best to avoid the Friday or Sunday afternoon rush by leaving in the morning instead, when there are significantly less cars on the road.

traffic trends

Skip the line 🙅🏽

We analyzed popular visit times for the season’s favorite places—grocery stores, shopping malls, bakeries, movie theaters and liquor stores—during Thanksgiving week so you can time your visit to avoid the crowds. Pro-tip: avoid grocery stores on Wednesday afternoon if crowds make you cringe.

Thanksgiving Crowds

Holiday survival tips 💪

No matter where you’re headed this Thanksgiving, we’ve got you covered. We polled the Google Maps team to identify some of the most used tips from the experts themselves:

  • Search along your route: Running low on gas? Burned the turkey? No problem—simply search for places along your drive to tackle your to do list without going out of your way.

  • Share your ETA: Let the fam know what time you’ll be arriving without needing to make a call or send a text. Safety first!

  • Remember where you parked: After navigating somewhere, use Google Maps to save your parking location so you’ll never have a “Dude, where’s my car?” moment again.

  • Avoid the lines: Forgot the pumpkin pie at home? Head to the grocery store, but not before checking the estimated wait time on Google Maps and Search to make sure you’re not wasting precious time in line.

  • Plan a group activity in a snap: Deciding on a place to go with your entire family can be a recipe for disaster—but it doesn’t have to be. Simply long press on any place to add it to a shortlist that you can share. Vote on a place and voilà! Crisis averted.

  • Airport maps: If you’re flying for Thanksgiving, use Google Maps to orient yourself around an airport. Find your terminal, stores, restrooms, baggage claim and more at a glance.

No matter where you’re headed for Thanksgiving dinner this year, Google Maps can help you get there before the turkey gets cold.

See your messages with local businesses in Google Maps

Last year we enabled users in select countries to message businesses from the Business Profiles on Google. Sending messages to businesses gives you the opportunity to ask questions without having to make a phone call so that you can order a cake for your mom’s birthday while on the bus or find out if a shoe store has your size without having to wait on hold.

Now you’ll see your messages with the businesses you connect with via Business Profiles within the Google Maps app, where you’re already looking for things to do and places to go or shop. You’ll find these messages in the side menu of both Google Maps for Android and iOS. With these messages in Maps, you’ll never have to worry about accidentally sending “I love you, Mom” to that shoe store you’ve been sending messages to.


As this rolls out, Google users in additional countries worldwide will be able to message with businesses for the very first time. So no matter where you are, as long as a local business has enabled messages, you’ll be able to connect with them in a tap. Just look for the “message” button on Business Profiles on Google Search and Maps.


On the flip side, businesses that want to accept messages from customers can install the new Google My Business app from Google Play or the App Store to sign up and enable messages. The new Google My Business app makes it even easier for businesses to stay in touch with their customers in real-time and on the go.

Whether you’re looking for the best burger in town or a restauranteur trying to get your new burger in front of neighborhood tastemakers, Google Maps helps bring you together.

Blind veterans kayak the Grand Canyon, with Street View along for the ride

Editor's Note: Lonnie Bedwell is a blind U.S. Navy veteran who led a team of four veterans to kayak 226 miles down the Grand Canyon. Today, he shares more about this feat (which was documented on Street View).

5 blind veterans kayak the Grand Canyon, documented in Street View

Let me start out by introducing myself: my name is Lonnie Bedwell and I’m from Pleasantville, Indiana, population 120. I’ve been blessed with a full and amazing life—raising three daughters as a single father, serving in the U.S. Navy, and perfecting my chicken noodle soup recipe.

I lost my vision over two decades ago, and was frustrated by how little people come to expect out of a blind person. Fortunately, I benefited from a tight community who supported and challenged me to learn more and do more. Since then, I’ve pushed myself mentally and physically—from climbing and mountain biking to writing a book to dancing with my daughter at her wedding.

I believe we can’t abandon our sense of adventure because we lose our ability to see it, and it has become  my goal to help people who live with similar challenges, and show them that anything is possible. In 2013, I became the first blind person to kayak the entire 226 miles of the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon But, I always felt it didn’t mean anything unless I found a way to pay it forward. So I joined up with the good folks at Team River Runner, a nonprofit dedicated to providing all veterans and their families an opportunity to find health, healing, community, and  purpose. Together we had the audacious goal to support four other blind veterans take a trip down the Grand Canyon.


[Lonnie lines up to surf the entrance wave of Georgie Rapid Gallery]

Google was keen to support our wild idea of a journey by capturing our exploration in 360 degree Street View. Each member of this journey felt strongly that we must share our experience to inspire and invigorate others—and Street View is a far-reaching platform that can be accessed by anyone, anytime, and from anyplace.    

A question I often get is “How do blind people kayak the Grand Canyon?” Well, it starts with grit. And a lot of preparation. Our other visually-impaired team members—Steve Baskis, Kathy Champion,Brian Harris, and Travis Fugate—practiced hundreds of rolls (flipping yourself back up if you go underwater) and ramped up on big rivers all around the country to prepare. From there, it was all about teamwork and trust.  Team River Runner pioneered a system in which a guide in front makes a homing noise that the blind kayaker then follows, as you can experience for yourself in this 360 video. Just like we relied on our squadron the military, we relied on each other out there in our kayaks.  Our deployments in Afghanistan or Iraq reinforced our ability to work together and survive as a group, which came to life again on this river.

Every single person challenged and pushed themselves on a daily basis. When the earthy warmth of the desert day cooled during the starry nights, delicious cooking smells filled the air, and sounds of music and laughter replaced the roar of the whitewater. I’ll never forget how I felt our last night in the Canyon—so humbled by our team and their devotion to each other. I mean, very few people ever kayak the Grand Canyon, let alone five blind people! We reveled at how far we had come together, but most importantly, how far we could go if set our minds to it.  We may have lost our sight, but we didn’t lose our vision.

While we no longer have the ability to see, we still have the power of our senses. The transformative and healing power of exploring wild and natural landscapes like the Grand Canyon can be experienced, felt, and sensed. We are elated to be able to share it with the world in Street View. You may not be able to feel, smell, and touch it like we did, but experiencing it in 360 seems like a good way to start.

Celebrate Halloween with Ghoul-gle

You know what they say: if you’ve got it, haunt it. Halloween is almost here and we want to make sure you’ve got what you need to celebrate with some help from Maps, Search and the Assistant.

Spookiest Spots

If you’re in the mood for a ghostly encounter, we’ve got you covered. Using historical Google Maps data, we’ve ranked 20 U.S. cities by their spook factor so you know exactly where to get your fill of restless spirits, haunted places, and inexplicable occurrences. Tap each link to see a list of some of the spookiest locations in your city, and check out the Street View imagery below to see what makes some of these places so spooktacular—if you dare 😱.

  1. New York

  2. Los Angeles

  3. Chicago

  4. Dallas

  5. Houston

  6. Washington D.C.

  7. San Francisco

  8. Atlanta

  9. Philadelphia

  10. Boston

  11. Seattle

  12. Phoenix

  13. Denver

  14. Orlando

  15. Minneapolis/St. Paul

  16. Detroit

  17. Portland

  18. Charlotte

  19. Sacramento

  20. Cleveland

Last-minute tips to get festive with your Google Assistant

Forget to pick up candy for trick-or-treaters? Still haven’t had a chance to get pumpkins to carve? Out of creative ideas on what to wear?

Whether you’re seeking last-minute costume inspiration, creepy sounds for your spooky soiree or monster facts to stump your friends and family, your Google Assistant is here to help just in the nick of time!  

Start by saying “Hey Google …”

  • “What should I be for Halloween?” (Take a guided quiz and let the Assistant help you pick out the perfect, unexpected costume.)

  • “Get directions to the nearest pumpkin patch.”

  • “Add Halloween candy to my shopping list.”

  • “Trick or treat.” (Enjoy a spooky experience with sound effects and guest appearances from famous monsters.)

  • “Share facts about monsters.” (Spoiler alert: did you know that people accused of witchcraft also found themselves accused of being werewolves?)

  • “What does a werewolf sound like?”

  • “What does a ghost sound like?”

  • “Share facts about monsters?”

Google Assistant Halloween

Pretty up some pumpkins

You might be carving out some time over the next day to create a gourd-eous masterpiece for your mantle or front porch. Here are some of the top pumpkin carving searches on Google Images to give you some ideas and how-to’s for a contemporary take on this classic Halloween decor:

A massive Doodle duel

Get your game on with our first-ever multiplayer, interactive Google Doodle. Host a session of “The Great Ghoul Duel” with up to seven friends and family via a custom invitation link or put your ghostly gaming powers to the test by competing with randomized players around the globe. Your goal is to collect as many spirit flames for your team as possible and bring them to home base before time expires. But BEWARE!, opposing teams can swipe your flames—and as a team collects more flames, their powers get stronger, including speed boosts, night vision and much more. Best of luck against your frightening foes!

Find Halloween tricks, treats and other goodies in your neighborhood

You can find pretty much anything on Google Maps—a restaurant that matches your personal preferences, a place to charge your electric vehicle, or your local farmer’s market. But for those instances when Google Maps itself doesn’t have what you need, Google Maps Platform powers millions of third party experiences to help you find what you’re looking for—using the same map you know and love.  

For Halloween, that means Nextdoor’s annual Halloween Treat Map, which allows neighbors to mark their homes with a candy corn icon if they plan to pass out candy, a haunted house icon if they plan to give their neighbors a spooky trick, or a teal pumpkin icon if they plan to pass out non-food treats.


Wondering why the non-food treat option exists? According to FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education), one in 13 children has a food allergy. For children with allergies, even a tiny trace of their allergen has the potential to cause a severe reaction. Unfortunately, many popular Halloween candies contain nuts, milk, egg, soy or wheat, which are some of the most common allergens in children and adults. By providing non-food treats, neighbors can help create a safe, fun alternative for children with food allergies and other conditions for whom candy may present a problem. And the Treat Map helps parents of those children find the homes in their neighborhood to stop by to make sure they have a safe and fun trick-or-treat experience.

Nextdoor is a free and private social network for neighborhoods used in over 210,000 communities across the globe—so chances are you’ll have a Treat Map in your very own neighborhood. To see for yourself, download the Nextdoor app from Google Play or the App Store or find it on the web at www.nextdoor.com.

Source: Google LatLong

Creepy images on Maps—and why they’re actually not that creepy

An extra leg. A super long arm. A shadowy figure. Even a plane in a lake. If you creep around Maps satellite imagery or Street View long enough, you’ll run into some seemingly spooky images. But don’t jump to any quick conclusions—they're never what they seem. Here are five spectacularly spooky snaps and reasons why they’re really not spooky at all!

Portal to a different dimension

I’ve never walked into a time portal or travelled between dimensions, but I imagine this is exactly what it would look like right before I’d disappear from reality and reappear in who knows where. At first glance, it’s easy to jump to conclusions, But the reality is a lot less exciting. The colors and graininess of this image are due to something many amateur photographers are familiar with – low light. Lighting is key to great imagery, which is why we make an effort to plan our Street View collects accordingly.

A tragic disaster

In Minnesota, it looks like a commercial aircraft has plummeted into Lake Harriet, taking its unfortunate passengers with it. But don’t worry—no humans or aircraft were harmed in the making of this image. The reason it looks like the plane is underwater is because each satellite image you see on the map is actually a compilation of several images. Fast-moving objects, like planes, often show up in only one of the many images we use for a given area. When this happens, faint remnants of the fast-moving object can sometimes be seen.

Gateway to the spirit realm

One glance at this and you might just be convinced you’ve found the gateway to the spirit realm—and spotted an evil apparition on its way in!  But lo and behold, there’s a perfectly good explanation for this one, too. The darkness and hazy figure are caused by a snafu we’ve all made ourselves – the camera cover is on!  Small holes in the cover allowed just enough light in to capture this scary view.

Ghost in the museum

We’ve all thought we’ve seen a ghost out of the corner of our eye (or at least I have) and from this image, you’d think you finally have proof of the other side. Fortunately (or unfortunately if you’re a ghost hunter), these ghostly figures appear rather often in Street View. This is because Street View cameras take photographs as they move. Once the photographs have been taken, they go through computer processing before they're ready for use on Google Maps. This includes stitching the still photos into panoramas. Sometimes when someone or something is moving while the images are captured, we capture only part of that moving object.

The dark side in your own front yard

Some super fans might be excited by this image, but others might find it terrifying to see the dark side in their very own front yard. There’s no technical explanation here. This was simply a good old-fashioned trickster who managed to get himself snapped by our Street View camera while taking out the trash—in full costume.

So sorry ghouls and ghosts, but these images just aren’t what they seem. Next time you see a spooky image on Maps or Street View, remember that whether it’s a technical glitch or just a person being silly, there’s always a perfectly reasonable explanation...or is there?

Bust ghosts in the newest game built with Maps—Ghostbusters World

Earlier this year, we introduced a new way for game developers to create real world games using information about the world from Google Maps. It enables game studios to easily reimagine our world as whatever they can dream up and helps them find the best places in the world for players to fuel up or start a mission.

With Ghostbusters World™, the newest game built with Google Maps, you can grab your virtual proton pack and bust ghosts—all as you explore a game world built on the Google Maps you know and love. Brought to you by Sony Pictures Consumer Products, Ghost Corps, publisher FourThirtyThree Inc. (4:33), and developer Next Age, Ghostbusters World is available for free on Google Play and the App Store now.


As a Ghostbuster, your mission is to “bust” ghosts to keep the world safe and ghost-free (just in time for Halloween, in case you’re superstitious). Lurking among 3D buildings, landmarks and parks, you’ll find hundreds of ghosts from all dimensions of the Ghostbusters franchise like Wes Pinker, Splat and Achira—in addition to fan favorites like Stay Puft and Slimer. Catch them in your proton beam to drain their energy and then capture them in your containment unit. As you advance in the game, you’ll gain access to the latest in spectral neutralization and trapping technology.


Because some ghosts are just too strong to take down on your own (would you want to face Stay Puft solo?), you can team up with nearby Ghostbusters in multiplayer boss raids. Not a team player? No problem. If competition is what you’re after, just build up your ghost team (the ghosts you capture and store in your bank) and enter battles against other Ghostbusters around the world to gain valuable resources needed to make your ghosts stronger.


For those Ghostbusters who delight in the story—not just the action—there’s an all original story mode featuring your favorite classic characters. And if you’re feeling festive (or daring) this Halloween, there’s an AR Mode (built with ARCore on Android) that lets you blur the lines between ghostly fantasy and reality.


If you want to do your part to make sure your local streets are ghost-free this Halloween, try Ghostbusters World. Download it now from Google Play and the App Store.

Source: Google LatLong