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By Sofie Farthing

Ultimate Guide To Google Maps Icons and Meanings in 2024

Last Updated 14 Jan 2024

Lost in the sea of symbols on Google Maps? Feeling confused about your business listing’s erratic search results? You’re not alone. Google Maps can be baffling, especially when you’re trying to ensure your business is visible. One day you’re dominating the scene, the next you’re seemingly swallowed by the map.

Fear not! Cracking the code of Google Maps icons and markers is the key to unlocking its potential. By understanding these visual clues, you can optimise your listings and gain valuable insights into your competitors’ strategies.

Navigating Google Maps

Controlling your exploration of Google Maps is easy thanks to the tools tucked away in the bottom corners. While searching within the main search results page, you can only zoom in and out. But head over to, and you’ll unlock the full “explore” bar!


Current location: Click the crosshair icon (when location services are on) to instantly zoom in to where you are.
In and out: Use the + and – buttons to adjust your zoom level.

Exploring the area:

Street view: Drag and drop the yellow figure onto the map to immerse yourself in street view.
Images & insights: Tap the two up arrows to open the “explore” bar, packed with images and information about the area.

Switching views:

Satellite or map: In the bottom left corner, you might see a box labelled “satellite” or “map”. Click it to toggle between these views and see the world differently.

How are search results displayed?

Where you search matters!

Your Google Maps experience depends on where you start. The main search page shows different results than or the mobile app.

Main Search Page:

3 Top Results: Look for red drop pins indicating the top 3 results.
More to Explore: Red dots on the map hint at additional results. Click the map to see them.

Detailed Map View:

List Expands: You’ll find a longer list of Google results alongside the map.

Red to Green: Red drop pins show search results and new green pins highlight paid advertisements (might not appear on mobile).

Dynamic Ads: As you zoom around, the advertised locations might change.

Symbols in the drop pins

Deciphering the map: Symbols and colours revealed!

Ever wondered why some map pins have little icons or coloured circles? They’re here to help you navigate!


Sleeping icon: Sweet dreams! This signifies hotels.
Shopping cart: Need groceries? Look for this supermarket symbol.
Graduation cap: Knowledge awaits! This marks schools and universities.
Open book: Time to learn! This indicates libraries.

Colour code:

Green: Relax in nature parks and outdoor spaces.
Orange: Grab a bite at restaurants, cafes, and bars.
Blue: Find shops and supermarkets for your shopping needs.
Pink: Unwind at hotels and other accommodations.
Light blue: Discover cultural attractions like museums and historical sites.
Purple: Locate ATMs, banks, parking, and gas stations.

Pro tip:

Red pins: When searching for something specific, red pins highlight those results.
Browsing by area: Explore a specific area. The map uses color-coded pins for easy identification.

What are the stars, hearts and flags?

See pink hearts, yellow stars, and green flags on the map? Those are your saved favourites, visible only to you! Want to revisit them or add more? Follow these steps:

Head to
Click the menu (three lines) in the top left corner.
Find and tap “Your Locations” to manage your saved spots.

Looking to attract more local customers? We’ve also got you covered with tips to optimise your GMB profile for maximum local reach!

Get in touch with the team today