Google Maps has been updated on its Android app. The latest update allows users to use the app even when they are not connected to the Internet.
Apart from giving you directions when you are offline, you can also use it to find businesses’ opening hours, their contact numbers and locations through the app.
This is good news for everyone who relies heavily on Google Maps when traveling places beyond the reach of their mobile subscription plans. People who live in markets where mobile data is expensive could also benefit from it.
Can users with budget-phone use it too?
Unfortunately, most Android budget-phone cannot fully take advantage of offline Google Maps because their phones have limited storage space. This is especially true if their phones have music, videos and several apps. These could truly take up a lot of memory.
For some users, downloading Google Maps will limit them from doing other things with their device. However, this is just a small negative in a lot of positives of offline Google Maps.
The update of Google Maps will be released very soon on iOS device. But many feared that it might take too long for it to be available on iPhone, iPad and other Apple devices.
How to use the latest update?
In order for you to use Google Maps even when you are offline, you need to download an area that you want. If you are downloading the map of Greater London, you will need 380 MB of extra space. San Francisco Bay area will need 200MB of space.
Once you have downloaded the area you wish to access offline, the app can easily switch from offline to online, and vice versa.
That said, if you are traveling without data connection, the app will give you a suggestion of a route that will help you save time on driving and avoid heavy traffic. However, the information provided will be based on typical conditions. Once you gain Internet access again, it will amend its suggestion based on the live traffic.
The offline Google Maps will update automatically every 15 days. This will ensure that the map is up-to-date. But your phone must be connected to a Wi-Fi and it must have sufficient battery. However, you can override these restrictions by modifying its settings.
Why the update?
Google and its team have been working on this feature for three years. They considered the app to be unusable when the users are offline or in limited mobile Internet.
With this update, they no longer have to make a screenshot of a location they want to visit before going offline. This update also makes loading time faster when searching and for driving directions.
But of course, the update comes with some flaws. Some who have already used it complained about it not showing some restaurants or seeing user-generated photos. They also complained about not being able to switch to a satellite view.
Nevertheless, this update is a great improvement and offers real benefits to those who rely on it heavily when they are offline.