Secret way to zoom in closer on Google Maps

A simple edit to the URL for a Google Map can get you a closer look than what Google allows via its zoom-in button.

Matt Elliott Senior Editor
Matt Elliott is a senior editor at CNET with a focus on laptops and streaming services. Matt has more than 20 years of experience testing and reviewing laptops. He has worked for CNET in New York and San Francisco and now lives in New Hampshire. When he's not writing about laptops, Matt likes to play and watch sports. He loves to play tennis and hates the number of streaming services he has to subscribe to in order to watch the various sports he wants to watch.
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Matt Elliott
2 min read
Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

In an effort to debunk a supposed Google Maps murder scene, Reddit user "xythrowawayy" shared a simple trick to zoom in closer than Google Maps allows. Google lets you zoom in only so far, but if you make a small tweak to a URL for a given location, you may be able to zoom in a level or two closer. Here's how it works:

First, find a spot on Google Maps and zoom in as far as the "+" button above the magnification slider on the left edge of the map allows. Be sure to stop short of going into Street View, if the location you're gazing at supports it.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

With your map zoomed in as far as it will go (but before entering Street View), click the link button located next to the print button to the left of the map. Copy the link and paste it into your browser's address bar but don't hit enter.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

Instead, click in your address bar and move the cursor all the way to the right of the long URL you just pasted in. It should end with something like "&z=20" or similar. The number at the end is the current zoom level. Change it to one number higher, and if Google Maps has imagery for a higher zoom level for that location, you'll see it. I found some locations that let you zoom in two or three levels closer, though the image starts getting blurry.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

This trick is a great way to take a closer look with Google Maps, whether you're attempting to solve a murder mystery or not.

(Via Huffington Post)