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Google adds offline search and navigation to Maps app

By Shawn Knight
Nov 10, 2015
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  1. Mobile devices have revolutionized the way we travel. Before smartphones, driving to an unfamiliar destination meant printing out directions from a service like MapQuest (and before that, you bought physical maps at the gas station that were often outdated).

    While convenient, today’s solution isn’t perfect. Should you find yourself lost without cell reception, you’re practically driving blind - something Google aims to prevent with its latest version of Maps. Here’s how it works.

    Before hitting the road (when you still have reliable cell reception), you can select an area of the map that you’ll be traversing. Said selection will then be saved in the “Offline Areas” section of the app. Then, once you’re out on the open road and encounter an area with spotty reception, the app will automatically revert to the locally downloaded map.

    It’s worth pointing out that it’s not just maps, either. Google Maps will save all relevant search and navigation data in the area you’ve selected meaning you can search for a great restaurant, the nearest gas station or the local zoo – all without an Internet connection. When you venture back into coverage, the app automatically transitions back to the full “live” version.

    Offline mode is rolling out to Android users as of writing. Those on iOS will need to sit tight as Google says the improvements are pending.

    Lead image courtesy The Verge

    Permalink to story.

     
  2. Mandark

    Mandark TS Booster Posts: 76   +22

    Just spring for Garmin and download the maps. THE ENTIRE USA, or North America even, plus Canada and Mexico if you really need them.

    Get a REAL navigation package.
     
  3. Mandark

    Mandark TS Booster Posts: 76   +22

    You can get separate parts or all of them.
     
  4. mosu

    mosu TS Guru Posts: 422   +48

    Garmin is good, Google maps are great.
     
    Reehahs likes this.
  5. Mandark

    Mandark TS Booster Posts: 76   +22

    I've had them misdirect me and try to send me down streets that don't exist anymore. Google maps are OK at best. But now I don't need to worry, I have the whole of N. America on my phone and don't need to use any data, plus have real navigation, traffic, points of interest, etc..
     
  6. Fabio Turati

    Fabio Turati TS Rookie Posts: 21   +10

    It is worth mentioning that Google had already released a version of Maps that was somewhat functioning offline. I think this feature survived the first update to the app, but it was brutally cut with the following one, and of course there was no mention of it neither in release notes nor anywhere. I found an article (like this: http://lifehacker.com/how-to-cache-offline-maps-in-the-new-google-maps-for-an-729295083) explaining that to have that back you had to type "Okay Maps" in the search bar, and then the option to store maps offline would reappear. It didn't work for me (honestly I tried only once, but typing "Ok Maps" in a search bar to access hidden options is already one time too many in my opinion), so I just switched to TomTom (the old one, which followed the "pay once and use it forever" model). Which often crashes the first time you try to view the map, or when you delete the current route, or when you quit the program. But other than that it has taken me around all Europe without problems, and who cares if there's no network or I am abroad and I'd have to pay for roaming.

    I don't care about Google Maps anymore; they are great for traffic, but I'll never trust them to work offline. I'm even tempted to bet that this "new" feature will disappear mysteriously within 3 months.
     
  7. infiltrator

    infiltrator TS Booster Posts: 141   +21

    I would not go that far into saying Google MAPS are great. I've ran into a couple of incidents, when using Google Maps for car navigation.

    Twice in a row, I was unable to locate my destination. Garmin on the other hand, would've done a better job in my opinion.
     

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