Parents' Guide to

Google Maps - Transit & Food

By Leslie Crenna, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Sublime navigation tool with cool extras.

Google Maps - Transit & Food Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this app.

Community Reviews

age 11+

Based on 4 parent reviews

age 8+

My teen son found his way home!

My teen son is new to this town, and the bus driver from his school dropped him off at the wrong bus stop. My son found his way home with Google maps! I had gotten a flat tire. This is why I told him to ride the bus home; thank God for Google maps! I'm literally in tears right now because I'm happy he made it home safely and with the shortest route! Thank you so much!
age 18+

Inaccurate location difficult to change

Google Maps has had my location 1 to 2 miles off my actual address for years and I have tried a number of times to use really terrible directions to change this and none of the fixes have ever worked. They still don't. Just wasted my time - a lot. My mailing address location is shown by Google Maps and earth to be near a business down the road with a different very divergent mailing address. The difference in numbers when google maps shows them next to each other in a rural area makes the google mistake even more obvious. New UPS and FedEx drivers don't know where to deliver packages without asking someone. It should be much easier than this.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (4):
Kids say (11):

Google Maps is an excellent tool for active people who like to get around. Navigation provides well-highlighted alternate routes, optional text-list display with voice guidance, street level views with rotation, a peg man to drag around, and easy zoom controls. Users can ask for directions for driving, walking, biking, or riding the bus. Map layers include traffic, transit lines, bicycling routes, Wikipedia articles, attractions, restaurants, and satellite view (toggle for map view). Terrain layer shows contour. The app also provides some icing with latitude and check-in features, screenshots for offline viewing, and extensive web-based help. While we don't recommend that minors broadcast their location, Latitude and check-in allow you to publish your presence at nearby locations even intersections with traveling direction, westbound, for example. (It feels a bit strange at first, like, uh, Can I check out? à la Hotel California.) App mines Google+ info including profile photo and contacts from your device to select groups to "check in" with (the default is public). With Latitude layer selected, you can see all nearby checked-in contacts in maps. Great for family resort vacations or reunions.

Settings has a [Google] Labs list of hopeful yet currently confusing accessibility add-ons including one for blind and low-vision users, one that measures distances and elevation changes, one that makes text larger, and one that displays elevation with directions. Unfortunately, in practice, the usefulness of these add-ons, other than the larger text, is unclear. The few downsides are that it sucks power like most navigation tools, and you must exit the app when you exit navigation.

App Details

  • Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android
  • Subjects: Social Studies: cultural understanding, exploration, geography, global awareness, Math: measurement
  • Skills: Self-Direction: achieving goals, goal-setting, initiative, personal growth, Thinking & Reasoning: applying information, asking questions, collecting data, part-whole relationships, Tech Skills: using and applying technology
  • Pricing structure: Free
  • Release date: December 17, 2012
  • Category: Navigation
  • Publisher: Google
  • Version: varies with device
  • Minimum software requirements: varies with device
  • Last updated: March 14, 2019

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