Google Maps is getting offline navigation on Android today, iOS update coming 'soon'


Google Maps is the industry leader when it comes to mapping, but for years users have criticized it for not having a fully functional offline navigation capabilities. This changes via an update scheduled to arrive on Android today (the update is coming to iOS 'soon') that brings offline search and navigation to Google Maps.

It works by first prompting the user to save an area and the app downloads an offline map. By default, the map will update once every 15 days with updates happening when the phone is plugged to a charger and connected to Wi-Fi, so that the actual map data is still fairly up to date.

There are some minor limitation: businesses registered on Google Maps will appear with only their names, star ratings, and phone numbers, but there will be no photos or user reviews (this would still be displayed if you have mobile data). You also cannot switch to a satellite view, and there are no offline walking or public transport directions.


But despite all these minor cons, this is a massive update that fixes one of the most often heard comments about Google Maps. Also, it's all about speed.

"We've been working on all of this stuff for two to three years," Google project manager Amanda Bishop said. "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 further explained that "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."


source: Google via BBC

FEATURED VIDEO

42 Comments

1. hafini_27

Posts: 949; Member since: Oct 31, 2013

Finally!

22. AlikMalix unregistered

Apple maps had this since 2012 (including 3D). What is it that you guys say? Oh yeah "Welcome to 2012"...

23. Kary1

Posts: 300; Member since: Jun 26, 2015

There have been a lot of off line GPS products which weren't as good as Google Maps. And Google Maps has had some off line capabilities for quite some time, but they were limited.

25. AlikMalix unregistered

I know, Just wanted to throw that one back at the trolls.

31. Oxygen

Posts: 125; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

Yeah, except that according to that sh*tty Apple maps in 2012, I had to take the plane from Brunswick to Berlin(2hr road trip) because Berlin was in freaking Antartica!

33. AlikMalix unregistered

BS... I've been using Apple maps since Apple replaced the Google one - and I never had wrong directions that you just made up.

34. Deicide

Posts: 82; Member since: Jul 02, 2011

Just because you haven't had any problems doesn't mean everyone didn't have problems. There are tons of articles when Apple Maps came out that it gave wrong directions.

35. AlikMalix unregistered

And you don't think google maps gave wrong directions - don't forget I used google maps exclusively on my 3GS before Apple maps - wrong way on downtown, weird unnecessary detours, even through buildings. I wish I took screenshots back then, just didn't think I had to prove how bad google maps can be - thought everyone knew. you guys are acting like Apple maps is completely useless - yet half a billion people use iOS devices and with it - Apple maps throughout the world. They don't see. To end up in different cities do they now? I'm not saying Google maps are bad, but for the last few years Apple maps are on par and in some ways better than google maps. Apple put maps together really quickly and it was damn good job compared to decade for google maps development. Now it's absolutely as good as google maps. I know as I have access to both.

40. T.Law

Posts: 423; Member since: May 10, 2014

"yet half a billion people use iOS devices and with it - Apple maps throughout the world." How did you come to this conclusion?! I was using Google Maps on my iOS devices back then, like many many other iOS users! Even my hardcore iFanboys friends have admitted that Apple Maps sucks.

39. T.Law

Posts: 423; Member since: May 10, 2014

Your bias is showing iSheep! Just google Apple Maps fail and see for yourself!

42. AlikMalix unregistered

I did google that "Apple maps suck" and I got as many old OLD articles as there are "google maps suck" old articles. The fact that you're the one showing your bias makes you also a hypocrite.

43. mousesports

Posts: 286; Member since: Feb 28, 2013

Dont care, im using HERE on my S6 EDGE !!!

2. ShadowHammer

Posts: 204; Member since: Mar 13, 2015

Yay, Google Maps has finally arrived where Here Maps has been for a few years! I do like Google Maps on a desktop or laptop browser, but don't mess with it on a phone due to offline issues and cell coverage limitations. I may have to give it a try again. It's good to have options.

4. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

I dont have any cell coverage issue in Canada. I tried here maps and i dont like it personally.

6. igorb81

Posts: 77; Member since: Feb 27, 2012

Except Here Maps is rubbish in terms of functionality and UI. I have used it when it worked. I tried it again a month ago and it was locking up and freezing and did not work so I have uninstalled it and I doubt that I will ever use it again. I have used Copilot for some time that worked fine for me which is fully functioning GPS Navigation app that has more features than anything else on the market. I never liked Waze too childish looking and too busy and very limiting IMHO. I don't encounter traffic much in my daily life so this is not really that important for me. I can't wait to try new Google Maps which I prefer to any other navigation app. This is nice to have for those moments when you are off the grid in remote areas and it does happen even with Verizon mighty coverage.

14. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

Don't have that problem with here maps, if I did that for anyapp or os I would be relegated to a flipphone...

17. catt4u

Posts: 145; Member since: Jul 09, 2011

No cell coverage issue in The Netherlands. Google Maps rules! Most detailed maps and routes for car/bike/pedestrian AND public transport. Way better than Here :-)

32. Oxygen

Posts: 125; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

Here Maps' only good feature was offline navigation, but Google Maps just rendered it obsolete.

3. benno

Posts: 94; Member since: Apr 17, 2015

Cool.

5. DarkStar286

Posts: 229; Member since: Mar 18, 2014

I can't believe Google Maps is only just getting offline navigation, my N8 had it over 4 years ago and I think it was even available on the S60 phones long before that. Still, nice to see Google finally adding this feature, though for the life of me I can't work out why it's taken this long.

27. monoke

Posts: 1161; Member since: Mar 14, 2015

Yep, Nokia maps was solid. I also had hacked garmin on my N95 lol. Both were solid offline maps!

7. Pattyface

Posts: 1658; Member since: Aug 20, 2014

Wow! Why has this taken so long? GM can't be taken seriously with omissions like this

8. Scott93274

Posts: 6033; Member since: Aug 06, 2013

LOL, Am I the only one shocked that the update was released on Android before iOS?

19. AlikMalix unregistered

Yeah android is getting better.

9. Acer_Predator unregistered

Well guys it is only now bcos of money of course.. Now all navigation makers will be going balistic and probably will sue google

10. natypes

Posts: 1110; Member since: Feb 02, 2015

Wait, I thought iOS got all the updates first? Oh, you mean only instagram and facebook and candy crush and other useless apps? Oh, ok.

20. AlikMalix unregistered

Actually Apple had been getting Google maps updates before android for quite some time. To be honest iPhones had Google maps way before android was, well, android.

24. Kary1

Posts: 300; Member since: Jun 26, 2015

I'm not sure iOS had GM Navigation before Android--I recall that taking a while.

26. AlikMalix unregistered

You missed my point... The first few iPhones had Google Maps as standard starting 2007 (before android existed).

41. natypes

Posts: 1110; Member since: Feb 02, 2015

Ignore him, he's just the iPhag troll around here.

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at https://www.parsintl.com/phonearena or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit https://www.parsintl.com/ for samples and additional information.