How to share trip progress in Google Maps

Much like a watched pot never boils, a friend you’re waiting for takes forever to arrive. If you’re going to meet a friend some place, and you’re driving there, chances are you get quite a few messages asking how much longer before you arrive. Google Maps has a new feature that lets you give your ETA to a friend so that you aren’t stuck answering texts about your current location. You can share trip progress in Google Maps with any friend and they will be able to tell, without messaging you, where you are.

Trip progress in Google Maps

Google Maps already has a feature that allows you to share your live location with friends however, it’s not the same as sharing your ETA which takes into account traffic conditions as well as your mode of transport.

To share your trip progress in Google Maps, make sure you’re running the latest version available and then open the app. Search for your destination and then use the Directions feature to start navigating to it. Once you’re in navigation mode, swipe up and a menu will appear. On this menu, tap the Share trip progress option.

Select a contact to share trip progress with from inside Google Maps, or use your preferred app for sharing your location.

This feature isn’t novel. In fact, ride sharing apps have this so that people can share a ride’s progress. It also gives you an ETA so you can tell when you will reach your destination. Google Maps gives you those same features for when you’re driving yourself, or if you’re taking public transport, or if you’re walking the whole way.

Using this feature will consume your battery and of course, Google Maps will need to access your location constantly and that is a sort of bump in the road with this feature. The feature is great if you’re driving and can connect your phone to a power source in the car but if you’re using any other means of transport where a charging point isn’t available, this battery hungry app will drain your device.

Ride sharing apps aren’t different but they tend to drain your battery less than Google Maps does. If you have an older phone, you might just be better off using other apps to share your location. If your friends are also iPhone owners, you can share your location over iMessages and it will not drain your battery as much.

Read How to share trip progress in Google Maps by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to use Color Pop in Google Photos on Android

Google Photos has a neat feature called color pop that can strip everything in the background of a photo of its color, and leave only the main subject in color. Normally, if you were to try and replicate this feature on your desktop via a photo editing app, you’d either need to buy an app that could do a half-way decent job of it, or you’d have to manually mask the background. The same holds true if you want to replicate the feature on your phone via a third-party app. The Google Photos app handles everything for you. Here’s how you can use Color Pop in Google Photos.

Color Pop in Google Photos

This feature has been available in Google Photos for about a year however, it relies on two things; your device, and the version of the Google Camera app that you’re running. This feature works for photos taken in Lens Blur mode, and in Portrait mode. On some devices, this may not work for photos taken in portrait mode but it should certainly work for lens blur photos.

What you need to do first is take a photo. It helps to put your subject in the center. The AI is good but it’s not great, not yet anyway. Once you’ve taken the photo, and the lens blur has processed, open the photo in the Google Photos app and tap on the edit button.

You will see the filters that can be applied to the photo, and Color Pop ought to be one of them. Tap it, and adjust it however you want. The adjustments you can make aren’t free hand. You can change the focus point of the color pop but other than that you can’t do anything.

If you like what you’ve got, tap the Save button and your edited image will save as a copy.

The following image shows a photo before (left) and after (right) applying the color pop.

If your phone doesn’t support lens blur mode, check if there’s a ported version of the Google Camera app for your phone that adds the feature to it. The above photo was taken on a Nexus 6P which, at this point, is a dated but fairly capable device running the Google Camera app that’s available in the Google Play store.

If you have other apps that can replicate the lens blur feature, you can try and apply color pop to photos taken with it but there is no guarantee that it will work.

Read How to use Color Pop in Google Photos on Android by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to use a Snapchat pet lens

Snapchat knows what we like to take pictures of and it so happens that a lot of people like to take photos of their pets. This is why there’s now a lens that can detect your pets in a photo. Right now, it’s limited to just cats and there appear to only be two lenses available at present but you can count on the app adding support for other pets, and eventually Instagram will copy the feature. Here’s how you can use, or more precisely find a Snapchat  pet lens.

Snapchat pet lens

The Snapchat pet lens, like most lenses, works with both the front and rear camera. You need to point your camera at your pet (in this case your cat).

Open Snapchat and tap anywhere on the camera view finder to load the lenses. Look closely for a lens that has a paw print on it. This lens can be used with your pets. The ones that are available at the moment put your cat’s head inside a piece of bread which is an internet joke. If you’re also in the picture, the lens will add bread around your face as well. There’s a second lens that puts your cat’s head in a lime which is, again, a meme.

Good luck trying to get your cat/kitten to hold still long enough for the app to detect its head and snap a photo.

You have to give props to Snapchat for, once again, creating a pretty good lens. It’s based on two ridiculously popular memes and people are going to use them. I don’t have a dog to try this on but it’s possible that it may work on a dog as well if the AI isn’t too smart.

Of course, if Snapchat is relying wholly on meme-worthy lenses, it’s going for lenses that will go viral and in my limited knowledge of memes, I don’t know if anything out there fits dogs. Given that there are two lenses for cats, and zero for dogs, the people at Snapchat have some work to do. Excluding dogs is just awful, and there has to be something that’s popular enough to make into a viral lens for the app. If nothing, the company can crowd source ideas for a dog lens.

What’s left to be seen is how Instagram will copy this feature. People post lots of photos of their pets on Instagram so it shouldn’t be too hard to train the AI to recognize animals. Let’s see if they go with the meme-lenses or if they skip copying this feature.

Read How to use a Snapchat pet lens by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How To Enable Music Controls In Google Maps

The Google Maps apps has added a new feature that allows you to control music playback while you’re using it. It’s meant for when you’re using the app to guide you to a location and you also want to listen to music. These controls aren’t enabled by default so, even if you have updated the app to the latest version, you may not see the controls. Here’s how you can enable music controls in Google Maps.

Music Controls In Google Maps

Make sure you’ve updated the app to the latest version. This feature is available for both iOS and Android apps.

Open the app, and tap the hamburger icon at the top. On iOS, you ought to see a cog wheel icon at the top of the navigation drawer that opens. On Android, you have to scroll down the navigation drawer, and select Settings.

On the Settings screen, look for and select the Navigation option. On the Navigation screen, you will see a Music Controls option. Tap it and select the service you want to use.

This is where the iOS and Android apps will differ. Google Maps for iOS allows you to connect Apple Music, or Spotify, and play music from either of those two services. If you want to play music from your own library, select Apple Music.

For Android, you need to first enable the ‘Show media playback controls’ option, and then select either Spotify or Google Music to play music from.

The app will play music but pause it each time it needs to announce a turn while it helps you navigate. That’s really the whole point of the feature. You can otherwise play music on your car’s system and use your phone to navigate but it will interrupt your music, or you music will interrupt it.

The concept seems good but we’d rather people drive safe and if you have to use a navigation app to get somewhere, chances are you’re navigating a route you’ve never been on, or that you’re not familiar with enough to remember and you don’t want music distracting you.

This is of course beneficial if you don’t have either Android Auto or CarPlay but again, music happens to take a back seat to safe driving. For Google’s part, it does give users who insist on driving with music playing a better, less distracting way to pause and listen to music so kudos to that. You can’t really knock the feature too hard if it is at least trying to provide a reasonable solution.

Read How To Enable Music Controls In Google Maps by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How To Create A Nametag For Your Instagram Profile

Instagram has introduced Nametags which are basically the Instagram version of Snapcodes. It really was only a matter of time before that particular feature was copied as well. It’s actually surprising it took so long since Facebook Messenger has long had it. Here’s how you can create a Nametag for your Instagram profile, and scan a tag that’s been shared with you.

This feature appears to have been added in a recent app update though the release notes don’t appear to mention it. Regardless, make sure you’re running the latest version of the Instagram app.

Create A Nametag

Open the Instagram app and go to your profile tab. Tap the hamburger icon at the top right, and in the navigation drawer, you ought to see a Nametag option.

There are three different types of nametags that you can create and by type it means the background your code will have. These three types are emoji, selfie, and color.

The mode appears at the top. Tap it to change modes. The Emoji mode allows you to select an emoji as the background. The Selfie mode allows you to take a selfie and use it as the background for your nametag. The color mode gives a colored background. The code doesn’t change. Once you have your code, tap the share button at the top and share the code with someone.

Scan A Nametag

To scan a nametag, open the navigation drawer and tap Nametag. At the bottom of the nametag screen, you will see a Scan a nametag option. Tap it and point your phone at a nametag. If you have a nametag saved to your camera roll, tap the little image thumbnail at the top right to access it. Select the image and Instagram will scan it. It will open the profile the nametag belongs to.

Nametags are going to be useful, obviously. In an online world where getting a certain username is kind of hard, and where multiple profiles using the same name exist, it can be hard to find a particular profile. If your username isn’t easy to remember or you have a rather common name, finding your profile can’t be easy. The nametag simplifies it though, we’re surprised Instagram went with nametag and not something more branded like Instatag.

You can change the mode for the nametag any time you want. The old code will still work since the app only scans the bit inside the box.

Read How To Create A Nametag For Your Instagram Profile by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter