How to Use Google Assistant With Google Maps

Get where you need to go without getting distracted

Google Maps is Google's flagship map and navigation app. Google Assistant is a virtual assistant built into Android and also available on iOS. Both are useful separately, but the integration of Google Assistant into Google Maps makes navigation easier and safer and unlocks additional features. Here's how to use voice commands for Google Maps to get where you want to go quickly.

How Google Assistant Works in Google Maps

Google Assistant replaces the basic voice commands that Google Maps originally relied on. This integration means that you can fully control the Google Maps app by saying, "Okay Google," followed by a command. It also means that you can access a ton of Google Assistant features without leaving the Google Maps app.

Here's how to use Google Assistant in Google Maps:

  1. Open the Google Maps app and start navigation as you would normally.

    Google Assistant starting navigation
  2. Say Okay Google.

    Google Assistant in Google Maps

    When you see the four dots icon appear at the bottom of the Google Maps screen, Google Assistant is listening.

  3. Ask Google Assistant a question, like find gas, or ask it to perform a function like text Mom.

    Gas stations in Google Maps

    Say call or text, followed by the name of a person in your contacts list, to initiate a phone call or text message. Say play, followed by a song, album, or genre of music, to play music without leaving the Google Maps app. There are many other commands to try.

Google Assistant executes your command without leaving Google Maps or interrupting your navigation. You can issue additional commands by activating Google Assistant again, or continue with your route.

Why Use Google Maps Voice Commands?

Integrating Google Assistant with Google Maps provides a better, more robust, hands-free experience when using the navigation feature on compatible mobile devices.

The integration allows you to access Google Assistant without leaving the navigation screen. You can also perform tasks while the Google Maps navigation screen remains in place.

In some cases, asking Google Assistant to perform a task causes the Google Maps app to shrink down to a picture in picture (PIP) thumbnail size, while the requested information or app appears to take over. Returning Google Maps to full size in these situations is a simple matter of tapping the thumbnail or asking Google Assistant to resume navigation.

What Can Google Assistant Do in Google Maps?

Google Assistant can perform any function in Google Maps that would normally require you to take your eyes off the road and tap the screen. This includes basic commands like muting voice guidance, altering a route, changing your destination, finding the estimated time of arrival, and checking for traffic.

Google Assistant showing gas stations in Google Maps

In addition to controlling navigation functions, Google Assistant can also perform a range of functions that typically require you to leave Google Maps. Some of the functions that Google Assistant can perform without leaving the navigation screen include:

  • Place calls and send text messages.
  • Locate gas stations, restaurants, and other places of interest.
  • Report on weather conditions.
  • Play music.
  • Access your calendar to provide information about meetings and appointments.

How to Use Google Assistant to Play Music in Google Maps

One useful feature that Google Assistant integration brings to Google Maps is the ability to play and control music during navigation. This allows you to request a genre, song, album, or artist while driving without exiting Google Maps.

Google assistant playing music in Google Maps

Here's how it works:

  1. Open Google Maps and start navigation as usual.

  2. Say Okay Google to activate Google Assistant.

  3. Say play, followed by a music genre, song, album, or artist. For example, say play some jazz to generate a jazz playlist automatically.

  4. The music app that's set as the default launches without interrupting Google Maps. If you look in the status bar at the top of the screen, you'll see the service's icon.

    Music playing in the Google Maps app
  5. Use Google Assistant to pause or stop the music, or swipe down on the status bar to access the mini player.

    Google Music playing with Google Maps active
  6. If you tap the mini-player, the music app launches with Google Maps in a small window in the corner of the screen. Tap the small Google Maps window to return it to full size.

Other Voice Commands You Can Try in Google Maps With Google Assistant

Google Assistant integration with Google Maps allows you to use voice commands to create a route and alter it along the way. This replaces and improves upon the basic voice commands that the Google Maps app was always capable of accepting.

Google Assistant showing alternate routes in Google Maps

Here are some other navigation voice commands that work in Google Maps:

  • Mute voice guidance: Mutes turn-by-turn voice assistance.
  • Unmute voice guidance: Resumes turn-by-turn voice assistance.
  • Show traffic: Reveals any traffic problems on your route.
  • Show satellite: Replaces the basic map view with a satellite image.
  • Navigate (destination): Generates a route to whatever destination you request.

Say navigate home to get directions to your house, or say the name of a business. This command also works outside of Google Maps, in which case it launches Google Maps and creates a route.

  • Show route overview: Zooms out the route map so that you can see the entire route.
  • Show alternate routes: Provides alternative ways to get to your destination.
  • What's my estimated time of arrival (ETA): Provides an estimated time when you will arrive at your destination.
  • Avoid (tolls/highways/ferries): Alter your route to avoid toll roads, highways, or ferries.
  • Enable (tolls/highways/ferries): Alter your route to allow toll roads, highways, or ferries.

In addition to basic navigation commands, Google Assistant responds to a variety of other commands within Google Maps. In most cases, it can answer questions and perform associated tasks while navigation remains in full screen.

Here are other Google Assistant voice commands you can try in Google Maps:

  • Call (name): Places a call to someone in your contacts list.
  • Send a text to (name): Starts a text message to someone in your contacts list.
  • What's the weather like: Provides a summary of the local weather.
  • How's the weather in (location): Provides a summary of the weather in another location.
  • Play (music): Plays a genre, artist, album, or song of your choice.
  • What's the closest (point of interest): Provides the nearest location that fits your request. For example, What's the closest hotel provides the hotel that is closest to you.
  • When's my next meeting: Accesses your calendar and provides the time of your next scheduled meeting.

Why Integrate Google Assistant With Google Maps When Android Auto Already Exists?

Google Assistant integration with Google Maps duplicates some of the functionality of Android Auto. Still, both are useful to different people in different situations.

Android Auto is a stripped-down user interface that is designed to be safer to use in cars. It has larger text, bigger buttons, and comes with integrated voice controls. It can also be directly integrated with cars and trucks that have built-in Android Auto support.

Google Assistant/Maps integration vs. Android Auto

Google Maps is designed for more general use. It can be used to navigate in a car, and it is also useful for navigating on foot, by bus, and using other means of transportation.

While Google Maps can be useful whether or not you are driving a car, Android Auto is designed from the ground up for use in cars. Android Auto is suitable for long trips and is especially useful if your car supports Android Auto integration.

Google Maps with Google Assistant is better if you are in and out of your car a lot, not driving, or prefer not to launch a separate app to use your phone while you're on the road. Google Maps is also available on non-Android platforms, while Android Auto only works on Android devices.