Google has released the latest version of its Google Maps app on Android devices, introducing the ability to download areas and access navigation and other information while offline. This offline maps feature was previewed at Google I/O in May.
With the new Google Maps update, users can download an area by searching for a particular city or country (as examples) and tapping the ‘download’ button on the correct search result, or by tapping the ‘+’ button within the offline areas menu. Before downloading an area, users can drag the highlight window to select the specific area they’d like to download, and can name this offline area for easy browsing later on.
As users travel through these downloaded areas, the app will automatically switch into offline mode whenever it recognizes they’re in an area with a poor connection, and will switch back to online mode when the connection improves.
By downloading areas, users retain access to turn-by-turn driving directions and the ability to search for specific destinations and attractions, as well as access to place information including hours of operation, contact information and user ratings.
By default, the app will only allow users to download areas when they’re connected to WiFi, to avoid high data usage. These offline features are now rolling out to users on Android, and are coming soon to iOS. Additional offline features will be introduced over time.
Image courtesy of J. C. Burns on Flickr.