Google Maps finally starts picking up offline navigation mode promised at Google I/O

Android M, Google Now on Tap, updates to Google Photos and Google Cardboard: this year’s Google I/O brought us news about plenty of the exciting projects the company had been working on. Among that was word that Google Maps was about to see the arrival of support for seriously enhanced offline functionality, letting you search, get info about businesses, and even use turn-by-turn navigation when lacking a reliable internet connection. We were told to wait for it to land later this year … and we’ve been waiting ever since. Well, today we finally get word that it’s time for offline navigation to begin rolling out.

Select the area you want to download and Google Maps will now cache everything it needs to deliver navigation and basic search features. For a good-sized city that can represent a nice chunk of data (north of a couple hundred megabytes), so Maps will default to retrieving it over WiFi. But once it gets to your phone, the app will be armed to keep right on ticking even through areas of limited connectivity.

The new mode begins hitting Android Google Maps users as of today, but it’s rolling out slowly, so don’t be surprised if you don’t see it on your phone straight away. Next in line to get support is Google Maps for iOS, and while Google promises that’s coming soon, we don’t have any firm ETA.

Finally, Google teases that it expects to flesh out this improved offline support with even more feature beyond search and navigation – but we’ll just have to keep waiting a little longer for full details on those.

Source: Google

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Stephen Schenck
Stephen has been writing about electronics since 2008, which only serves to frustrate him that he waited so long to combine his love of gadgets and his degree in writing. In his spare time, he collects console and arcade game hardware, is a motorcycle enthusiast, and enjoys trapping blue crabs. Stephen's first mobile device was a 624 MHz Dell Axim X30, which he's convinced is still a viable platform. Stephen longs for a market where phones are sold independently of service, and bandwidth is cheap and plentiful; he's not holding his breath. In the meantime, he devours smartphone news and tries to sort out the juicy bits Read more about Stephen Schenck!