You’re probably using Google Maps on your phone most of the time, but planning trips is much easier on a desktop. The additional screen real estate allows Google to display more information. It’s not just the map that’s bigger than on a smartphone, either. It’s the entire user interface (UI) that makes Google Maps easier to use on desktop. You also get a side panel that contains plenty of details about the point of interest you’re inspecting. And now Google is testing a new dock feature for Google Maps on desktop that should make it even more useful.
Planning a trip or a vacation with Google Maps is incredibly easy with the desktop site. Just load up the website and start searching for places you want to visit to get all the necessary information. You’ll get navigation details, and you can inspect the neighborhood for restaurants, hotels, and other points of interest surrounding your destination.
But if you have several objectives on your trip or vacation list, you’ll quickly discover how annoying it is to keep searching for multiple places at once. You can always load multiple Google Maps tabs on your desktop, with each focusing on a single destination. That way, you’ll have everything in view. All you have to do is switch back and forth between the different tabs. That’s where Google’s new dock feature for Google Maps will come in handy.
The feature is not widely available, as only some people have found seen it. This tells us that Google is testing the new feature. Therefore, it’s unclear if or when Google will roll out the Maps desktop dock functionality to all users.
How the Google Maps desktop dock works
Previously, if you wanted to focus on multiple destinations on the same browser, the only way to do so was by loading Google Maps in more than one tab.
But now Google has added a dock at the bottom of the Google Maps desktop UI. Search Engine Roundtable discovered the feature a few days ago, as seen in the GIF animation above.
When searching for a destination on Google Maps, look for a blue button that reads “Dock to Bottom.” Press it, and the destination becomes a button at the bottom of the screen. You’ll then be able to select it from there quickly.
The concept is similar to tabs on an internet browser. But instead of websites, you’re loading different Google Maps instances in each dock button. You can then move seamlessly between the various maps you’ve saved.
The Google Maps desktop dock is the kind of feature that can significantly improve the app experience. The dock would be just as useful on tablets, assuming that Google wants to bring it to more platforms. That said, it’s unclear when the feature will roll out to Google Maps users.
The following video offers an even better demo of the Google Maps desktop dock feature: