This Google Maps feature is a lifesaver – literally

You'll hope you never have to make use of this Google Maps feature

Google Maps
(Image credit: Unsplash)

Google Maps has plenty of advanced features, such as Google Assistant Driving Mode and split screen Street View, but one very useful feature has just got highlighted in vivid detail.

And it's a Google Maps feature nobody will ever wish they need to make use of.

That's because Reddit user gatorsya recently put up a post that showed how, when using Google Maps, the app showed where an active shooting event was taking place, with gatorsya titling the Reddit post "Google Maps helped me avoid this area reported with active shooting".

The Google Maps update showed where on the map, near to where gatorsya was travelling, where the shooting had been reported, with "Austin shooting" listed next to a circular red area with an exclamation mark in the center.

In addition, the "Austin shooting" event listed a timestamp for when it had last been updated, which at the time read "Apr 18 at 1:27 PM CDT".

Google Maps

The screenshot showing the 'Austin shooting' event on Google Maps.

(Image credit: Google | Reddit user gatorsya)

No other information about how and when the warning popped up on Google Maps was given by gatorsya, but it seems safe to say that the warning was definitely appreciated, as the last thing anyone wants to do is get close to such an event.

The "Austin shooting" appears to have been that which was reported in The Washington Post.

This functionality on Google Maps isn't actually new, with it rolled out back in 2018, but it is rare that we see evidence of it posted about by public citizens.

And while it's safe to say that everyone is glad that Google Maps packs such functionality, it doesn't half bring into focus exactly why such a feature is needed at all.

For a more light-hearted use of Google Maps advanced functionality, GeoGuessr has turned the map software's exploration feature into a game. The idea is that over a series of game rounds you are placed in an unknown area on the map, and then you look around virtually for clues to help you determine your location. The faster a competitor guesses the right answer the higher they score.

Via: BGR

Robert Jones

Rob has been writing about computing, gaming, mobile, home entertainment technology, toys (specifically Lego and board games), smart home and more for over 15 years. As the editor of PC Gamer, and former Deputy Editor for, you can find Rob's work in magazines, bookazines and online, as well as on podcasts and videos, too. Outside of his work Rob is passionate about motorbikes, skiing/snowboarding and team sports, with football and cricket his two favourites.