Last week Google has finally released a long waited offline mode feature allowing driving directions and search. The new feature is available to Android users starting this week, and Google says the iOS rollout will follow soon.
The simplified offline feature has existed in Google Maps since 2012 but it didn’t support directions and search and it was pretty not obvious how to save a map. The new process is simple, you either search by city, state, zip or select a point on the map, then click a download button. It’ll bring up a map for you to decide the exact area you want to download. You can download a small neighbourhood around your home or a whole city. Google said downloading most of the San Francisco Bay area would “weight” about 200MB, while the Greater London would take up 380MB on a device.
Once the data are downloaded, the app is designed to switch “seamlessly” between offline and online modes. The offline map will automatically update once every 15 days when you’re connected to WiFi.
The offline mode will be a little bit limited compared to the full online information. The search mode will allow to search for businesses and basic information about them like opening hours but without photos and users reviews. It will also support traffic predictions instead of real-time information.
Although it’s still a little bit limited it’s a big deal. In Europe roaming charges for data transfer are huge. So when travelling abroad most people use offline navigation. Personally I use HERE navigation app. Who knows maybe I will switch to Google.
source: Google Blog