Android: Google Maps' Navigation feature has been one of Android's best for a long time. It would be nice, however, if you could see things like traffic updates and nearby petrol stations without entering a destination. Now, you can. In the latest update to Google Maps, Android Police has discovered a hidden Driving mode. You can enter this mode whether you have a destination in mind or not. Google Maps will use what it knows about your usual driving routes to guess where you're headed and let you know if there are any traffic incidents along your way. You can also search for places of interest nearby such as restaurants and petrol stations.
To activate this feature, first you'll need to update to the latest version of Google Maps (v. 9.19). If you don't already have the updated app, you can install it on some phones from Android Police at the source link below. Once you have the new app, follow these steps:
- Open Google Maps.
- Navigate to Settings in the slide-out panel on the left side of the app.
- At the bottom of the settings list, select "Sign out of Google Maps."
- Tap the Multitasking button on your phone and swipe away Google Maps.
- Re-open Google Maps.
- Open the slide-out navigation panel on the left side of the app.
- You should now see a "Start driving" button on the list of options.
- Navigate to Settings and sign back in to Google Maps.
According to Android Police, the steps to activate the Driving mode may vary from one device to another, but several users (myself included) were able to activate it with these steps. If it doesn't work for you, just sit tight. This may be a hidden feature Google may not have meant to release publicly, or it may simply be a bug that it's not available without workarounds. Either way, it's likely not far off from rolling out for everyone.