You’ve probably used Google Maps before to get from point A to point B; after all, it’s both popular and convenient. But did you know that, similar to Google Earth, you can explore real places – and occasionally see some odd stuff along the way? Basically, Google Maps helps you explore the world without having to learn how international travel works, just like an agency redesigns websites without you becoming an Adobe Photoshop expert.
One TikToker, known as “the Google Earth Guy”, knows this very well; in fact, his entire account is devoted to pursuing unusual Google Maps requests from his followers. While he regularly finds obscure or interesting snapshots on Street View, one of his more recent discoveries has made its way off of TikTok and onto the rest of the internet. Someone had seen a curious sight, and wanted to see if he could find it too. When he did, he posted the results: a photo of a young child sticking his head out of a public trash can. Turns out, the 2010 image was taken in Lausanne, Switzerland, in the Parc de Valency.
His followers were nothing less than baffled – why would a child climb into a bin? Some users joked that he was trying to win a bet, while others chimed in that he was just hoping to escape the consequences of skipping his chores. While there’s really no way to find out why this kid ended up in a trash can, it sure is a funny story.
While Google Maps is (obviously) all about maps, its entertainment value is seriously underrated. If you’re curious about how that would work, just keep reading – you might end up spending more time on Google Maps yourself!
Travel internationally for free
Have you ever dreamed of seeing the Great Pyramid of Giza? How about the Arc de Triomphe in Paris? Those and many other iconic monuments can be viewed as if you’re there in person; all you have to do is turn on Street View and start exploring. You don’t need a passport or a bunch of money for a plane ticket; all you need is a computer (or phone!) and an internet connection. Plus, you can also view the photos of previous visitors who’ve tagged that location.
Use augmented reality to spice up your Google Maps directions
If you’re trying to get somewhere on foot, Google Maps has a setting that can make the directions a lot easier to follow. Simply enable Detailed Voice Guidance; then the Live View will launch and you’ll hear a voice directing you as you walk. (This only works for Walking Directions, by the way.) You’ll also be able to see the directions overlaid on the street view as you go. Pretty nifty, right?
Find trailheads before you go hiking
Hiking is all about exploring unknown trails, but you want to do the wandering around after you’ve found the trailhead, not as you’re trying to find it. The less popular ones can be poorly marked, but they should still be visible on Google Maps. Once you’ve found the right trailhead, you can also locate a parking spot too. After that’s done, all you have to do is mark the location for later, and you’re good to go!
Explore abandoned locations
Do you love exploring the places that everyone else has forgotten? Then you might want to use Street View to check out spots like historic towns, forgotten jails, abandoned banks, and even castle ruins. You can even find theme parks that were shut down years ago. It might be tricky to find a lot of these places, but a bit of internet sleuthing can turn up a lot of information.
Enjoy the views without paying for the gas
The world has so many epic views to offer, but it isn’t exactly practical to drop a couple thousand on travel expenses every time you feel like taking in some mountain scenery. Google Maps offers the next-best thing, with Street View perspectives on mountains, oceans, deserts, forests, and more. The only thing missing will be the breeze coming in through the open window of your rental car.
Plan your vacation
Local guides or online reviews are great, but it’s hard to get the measure of a place if you can’t see it for yourself. But with Street View, you can! All you have to do is find the town you want to visit on Google Maps, then explore whichever spots you’re interested in with Street View. Destinations can sound amazing online, but be disappointing in person because of their surroundings. With this strategy, you’ll know exactly what you’re getting into.
Check out your neighborhood-to-be
Finding an apartment can be tough, but what about finding the right neighborhood? If you’re moving to another city, getting a feel for a certain area is next to impossible – unless you use Google Maps’ Street View, of course. Type in the address of the apartment you’re considering, and have a virtual walk around the neighborhood. Not only will you be able to see the kind of place you might be moving to, but you’ll also get a feel for the “vibes” of the place.
See changes over time
Historians, environmentalists, and generally curious people can all use Street View to find out how certain locations have changed with time. This won’t apply to every place, but Google Maps has been sending their cars all over the world for years; some locations have quite a stockpile of footage. In some cases, this will also let you see how a spot looks in different seasons.
Google Maps is handy for a lot more than just driving directions.
With a little imagination, you can turn it into a virtual vacation or a travel-planning aid. Or, you could just explore random spots and keep an eye out for more kids in trash cans. Who knows what you’ll find? Maybe it’s time to see for yourself!