We’ve all been in situations where we’re using Google Maps to travel but lose connectivity at some point during the course of the journey. The search giant has finally come with a solution for such scenarios with the ability to access maps offline.
While Google Maps had an offline option before, the feature was limited to just viewing the location. Now the app can provide turn-by-turn navigation and search for places. It can even tell users the ratings, timings and contact details of an establishment. To use the new function, people have to download a place to their phone.
The size of the download depends on the area of the location. According to a blog post by Google, San Francisco could take up to 375MB of space in a smartphone. Such huge numbers could turn out to be a problem for people with smaller capacity devices. The location automatically expires within 29 days, which should prevent handsets from being stuffed with map information.
To avoid high data costs, Google uses Wi-Fi as its default option when downloading places. To save an offline map, individuals can search for a city, county or country and select the ‘Download’ icon in the resulting place card. They may also head over to the Offline Areas category within the app menu and tap on the ‘+’ symbol.
Google promises the app is able to switche seamlessly between modes. Once the tool detects the device has lost connectivity or is not able to establish a reliable connection, it goes offline. When it regains the link, it changes back to being online and offers the full range of tools which are not possible offline such as live traffic updates.
Amanda Bishop, the Product Manager at Google Maps, assured people the offline mode of the app will be decked out with more features in the future. The application is currently only available for Android users, with plans to release it for the iOS platform very soon. You can download it via the Play Store.