Every so often when I’m using my phone or a tablet or a PC, I discover something new that I’d never even heard about before.
It isn’t always actually new – sometimes it is and sometimes I’ve just never come across it before.
Sometimes it’s something that makes me pull my hair out – discovering some new bug or some feature that’s frustrating. But sometimes it’s really handy.
And I discovered something new on my phone the other day.
I should say: I use an Android phone, though I suspect this is pretty similar if you use an Apple iPhone. And although it’s on my phone, it works the same on an Android tablet (and, I suspect, on an Apple iPad). In fact, technically it applies on a PC, too, but I don’t think it’s as useful there.
I use my phone quite often to look at routes on the built in Google maps. Sometimes I then use it as a sat-nav – either in the car or walking.
And I have a list of contacts (or address-book) saved in my phone. Mainly that only has people’s names and phone numbers in it. I have a paper address book that has postal addresses in.
The other day, though, I was visiting my sister (and drinking a very nice whisky together – thanks Tish!) and wanted to make sure I had her address with me. So instead of bringing the paper address book, I put it into the contacts list in my phone.
Then later on, while I was at her house, I opened up Google maps to check the route to the train station… and lo and behold, her house was marked on the map on Google maps, with her name.
You see, because my phone runs Android (by Google), the contacts list I was using on it was a Google one. Which meant that Google maps had access to the same contacts list and could show the address on the map.
At the time, it didn’t help me much, since the point it was marking was where I was at the time anyway! But it could be helpful. Now, if I want to get directions to her house from Google maps (either to just look at the route or to use it as a sat-nav), all I need to do is search for “Tish” rather than having to type in her address.
I can even do the same at my PC or on any other device, as long as it’s logged into my personal Google account.
It’s definitely handy to me – but also worth knowing because if you didn’t know how it knew where your friends or family lived, you might be quite shocked to see it listing their houses on the map!