Google Maps has begun rolling out its enhanced offline navigation feature for users in India, just a week after announcing the service internationally. The ability is restricted to Android devices for now, with the brand promising the update will find its way to the iOS platform soon.
Previously, offline maps only allowed people to view a location. The new version of Google Maps now comes with turn-by-turn voice-assisted navigation and the facility to search for places even without an internet connection. Additionally, individuals will be able to get information like timings, ratings and contact details about businesses such as restaurants.
To start using the service, users have to download the region they are traveling to on their phone. Google only allows this to happen over a Wi-Fi connection as the file may become very large depending on the size of the location. For instance, New Delhi could take up over 700MB of storage. This could potentially turn out to be problem for people with smaller capacity smartphones.
However, Google automatically deletes places 29 days after a person has downloaded it. This should ideally prevent a device from overflowing with map information. To add a locality, city, or country, consumers must search for it and tap on the Download option within the place card. Alternately, they can go to the app’s menu, select Offline Areas and click on the plus symbol.
Sanket Gupta, the Program Manager at Google Maps, says the app will switch to offline mode in situations where connectivity is unreliable or completely non-existent. Once a steady connection has been established, it goes back to being online and offers advantages like live traffic updates, which is not possible without any data network.
He also promised to add more features to offline mode in the future. You can download the latest version of Google Maps via the Play Store.