Google Maps Launches Offline Navigation And Search Options

As it was foretold back in May, so it has come to pass: for all those times when you need to know where you’re going but don’t have great Internet service, Google Maps has introduced offline navigation and search.

The feature will start off in Android, with support for iOS coming soon, Google product manager Amanda Bishop wrote in a blog post. Offline access is handy because it’s not like we’re going to go back to trying to figure out actual paper maps anytime soon.

“Ten percent of the time our users are getting slow or no results.” Bishop noted to Tech Crunch. “That’s not really conducive to being confident about where you’re headed next. I mean, in some spots in Los Angeles you might as well print out directions and drop them on the floor of your car like everyone used to before GPS.”

Again, this won’t mean you can pull up a map of anywhere in the world on the fly when you’re stuck without an Internet connection: users will be able to download a map for a certain area onto their phone, which can be viewed, searched and used to get turn-by-turn driving directions while you’re offline.

Once you’ve downloaded an offline map, Google Maps will switch into offline mode automatically when it detects spotty service. If you move into an area with better service, offline mode will turn off again, restoring access to the full version of Maps. The app will only download areas to your device over a Wi-Fi connection, Bishop notes, to prevent large data fees.

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