Just so you know, some of these features disappeared with the recent Google Maps update. We really hope Google brings them back!
Google Maps is pretty useful for getting driving directions, but did you know all the other things you could do with it? Here's a few of those nifty tips and tricks hidden in Google Maps.
If this is available in your area, you will see a drop-down list of choices underneath the location and destination field. Select car, walking, or public transport, and the directions are customized for you.
Embed Maps on Your Website or BlogIf you click on the link text on the upper right-hand side of a Google Map, it will give you the URL to use as a link to your map. Just below that, it gives you the code you can use to embed a map in any Web page that accepts embed tags. (Basically, if you can embed a YouTube video on that page, you can embed a map.) Just copy and paste that code, and you've got a nice, professional looking map on your page or blog.
Gawker took advantage of this to make the somewhat creepy Gawker Stalker. This map gets real-time reports of celebrity sightings and shows the location on Google Maps. A science fiction twist to this idea is the Doctor Who Locations map that shows areas where the BBC television series is filmed.
Another map shows where US zip code boundaries are, or you can find out what the effects of a nuclear blast would be.
Create Your Own MapsYou can make your own map. You don't need programming expertise to do it. You can add flags, shapes and other objects, and publish your map publicly or share it only with friends. Are you hosting a birthday party in the park? Why not make sure your guests can really find how to get to the right picnic shelter.
Get a Map of Traffic ConditionsDepending on your city, you can view traffic conditions when you look at Google Maps. Combine that with the ability to create an alternate route, and you can navigate the toughest traffic jam. Just don't try doing this while you're driving.
See Your Location on a Map From Your Phone - Even Without GPSThat's right, Google Maps for Mobile can tell you approximately where you are from your phone, even if you don't have GPS. Google put together a video that explains how this works. You do need a phone with a data plan to access Google Maps for Mobile, but it's a nice perk to having one.
It may seem a bit creepy to enable location sharing, but you can turn the service on or off as you desire. It's saved me calls from my husband to ask if I'm coming home at my usual time. He can just use Latitude to see if I'm at work or on the bus.