Google has today announced that Offline support for Google Maps on Android which was previewed at Google I/O back in May, including Navigation and search will begin rolling out to Android today.
Once rolled out, the latest update will allow users to download a map for offline use the size of a city, county or country simply by searching for it and tapping ‘Download’ on the place sheet or by going to the ‘Offline Areas’ section in Google Maps and selecting the ‘+’ button. Maps will by default download only on Wi-Fi to save any excess data fees.
The offline mode for Google Maps won’t include live traffic conditions – but that will be available once you’re back online, but it will include ‘turn-by-turn driving directions, search for specific destinations, and find useful information about places, like hours of operation, contact information or ratings’.
As far back as 2012, Google has been attempting to make offline maps a good experience on Android, though with limited and often clunky ways to do it, it’s never been a great experience and competing services like Nokia’s Here Maps have often offered a better offline Maps experience.
With Google’s push into developing markets where internet access is far from available, the need for improved offline navigation and Google Maps support has been a growing necessity. Today’s announcement makes Google Maps a far more attractive proposition for users in these markets.
Google has advised the rollout of the updated Google Maps will begin today for Android users (iOS users will follow soon) and this is just the start, with Google promising ‘even more offline features’ will be coming soon.