You can pinch and swipe your way to all kinds of nifty features in Google Maps for Android, from 3D buildings and “Street View” to traffic conditions and restaurant reviews—once you know what you’re doing, that is.
Read on for six Google Maps gestures you need to know, starting with…
1. Pinch the screen…
…then open and close your fingertips to zoom in and out of the map, or twirl your fingertips to spin the map around on the screen.
2. Swipe down with two fingers
Want to see the world from a 3D perspective rather than flat? Tap and hold the screen with two fingertips, then swipe down to add a little depth (as well as 3D buildings, depending on the location) to the map.
You can fine-tune the angle from which you’re viewing the map as you drag your fingertips, or you can swipe back up again to go back to a straight-from-above view.
3. Swipe in from the left side of the screen
Doing so opens the Google Maps sidebar, complete with shortcuts for adding traffic information, bike paths, satellite imagery, and more.
The sidebar also lets you jump to the Google Maps settings and online Help pages.
Want to close the sidebar? Just swipe it back into the left side of the display.
4. Swipe up on a location caption
Whenever you select a “point of interest” on Google Maps—such as, say, a restaurant, a movie theater, or a specific street address—a little caption with details about the location will appear at the bottom of the screen.
Swipe up on the caption to get more options, such as a 360-degree “Street View,” sharing links, reviews, a Call button (if there’s a phone number associated with the location), additional photos, and more. You can also save a location as a favorite by tapping the “star” button.
Ready to go back to the standard map view? Tap and hold the top of the screen, then swipe down.
5. Swipe left or right on a location caption
If you’ve searched on a broad category of places in Google Maps—like “mexican restaurants,” for instance—you can cycle through all your local search results by swiping through the location captions at the bottom of the screen.
Want to see a list of your search results rather than cycling through them? Tap the “list” button (it looks like three little horizontal lines stacked up together) on the right side of the search box.
6. Tap and hold…
…to drop a “pin” anywhere on the map.
A location caption for the dropped pin will appear at the bottom of the screen; swipe up on the caption to “star” it, share it with a friend, get a Street View, pull up driving directions, and more.
Looking for more Android tips? Click here!