Editor in Chief
- Jan 5, 2011
Those genius Google Maps engineers are finally ready to pull the trigger on the offline navigation mode of Google Maps. According to their own blog, the feature will start rolling out today in an update to Google Maps.
It's remarkably simple despite it being years in development; it works by first prompting the user to save an area and then the app simply downloads an offline map for you to view at your leisure. The app will even update the map every 15 days. These updates occur when the phone is plugged into a charger and connected to Wi-Fi.
There are a couple of things wroth noting: you can't switch to a satellite view, and there aren't any offline walking or public transport directions. Also, businesses which are registered on Google Maps will appear with only their names, star ratings, and phone numbers. They will not have photos or user reviews (of course this will display if you use it online).
That's not all that we are getting in the update though. Along with adding these extra features with offline search and navigation to Google Maps, they are also improving the speed and performance of the app. Nice! Here's what Google project manager Amanda Bishop had to say about it,
We've been working on all of this stuff for two to three years. Google Maps happened to be really slow or completely unusable in many scenarios due to limited mobile internet. "Users now don't have to do all that screenshot jujitsu before they leave [in case they lose access], and there's much faster load times for search and driving directions.
She added, "everybody on our team who uses it can't stand it when they have to use the old app because it's crazy how frequently you find yourself seeing that spinner waiting for results. Once you get used to it returning them in a second every single time, you quickly get used to how snappy the app feels."
Nifty! We can't wait to try it out her at HQ!