Google Maps Finally Provides True Offline Capabilities

Posted on November 10, 2015 by Paul Thurrott in Android, Cloud, iOS, Mobile with 0 Comments

Google Maps Finally Provides True Offline Capabilities

Google this morning announced that its Google Maps mobile app for Android (and, soon, iOS) is finally getting true offline capabilities with downloadable maps. And while this update doesn’t impact Windows phone users at all, it does eliminate the one major advantage we had with HERE Maps and Drive.

Now you can download an area of the world to your phone, and the next time you find there’s no connectivity—whether it’s a country road or an underground parking garage—Google Maps will continue to work seamlessly,” Google Maps product manager Amanda Bishop notes in a new post to the Official Google Blog. “Whereas before you could simply view an area of the map offline, now you can get turn-by-turn driving directions, search for specific destinations, and find useful information about places, like hours of operation, contact information or ratings.”

This is huge. Sadly, I can’t test it yet—I check my Android-based Moto X Pure Edition handset and my iPhone, but neither has gotten the update yet. According to Google, the update is “gradually rolling with the latest version of Google Maps on Android (coming soon to iOS).” So let’s just go with the official description for now:

“You can now download an area of the world to your phone, and the next time you find there’s no connectivity—whether it’s a country road or an underground parking garage—Google Maps will continue to work seamlessly. Whereas before you could simply view an area of the map offline, now you can get turn-by-turn driving directions, search for specific destinations, and find useful information about places, like hours of operation, contact information or ratings.

You can download an area by searching for a city, county or country, for instance, and tapping ‘Download’ on the resulting place sheet, or by going to ‘Offline Areas’ in the Google Maps menu and tapping on the “+” button. Once downloaded, Google Maps will move into offline mode automatically when it recognizes you’re in a location with spotty service or no connectivity at all. When a connection is found, it will switch back online so you can easily access the full version of Maps, including live traffic conditions for your current route. By default, we’ll only download areas to your device when you are on a Wi-Fi connection to prevent large data fees.”

Sounds great. Can’t wait to test it. And say goodbye, forever, to HERE’s terrible apps.

 

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