Google on Tuesday began rolling out an offline mode for Google Maps that will cover both cities and rural areas.
Users will be able to download a regional map, for example; a city, county or country either by tapping “download” on a search result or by going to “Offline Areas” in the Google Maps menu and tapping on the “+” button.
The downloaded map will function in offline mode automatically when the user enters an area with poor or no connectivity, and it will switch back online when a connection becomes available.
Google Maps will attempt to update offline maps automatically after 15 days, when a user’s phone is connected to a power source and WiFi service is available.
Google is rolling out the new feature over the next couple of weeks to more than 200 countries, including the United States, the UK, Brazil, India, Russia, Mexico and Indonesia.
The latest version of Google Maps on Android will include the new feature and an iOS version will come later.
The offline feature will give users turn-by-turn directions and useful information about places such as opening hours, contact information and ratings.
This push is part of a larger trend for tech giants looking to expand their reach globally. Facebook, for example, recently instated “2G Tuesdays” at its offices to force its employees to experience what its customers in developing markets deal with on a daily basis. It has recently released a mobile News Feed designed to accommodate slower connection speeds.
Although the feature is not a completely brand new concept; the whole been there, done that springs to mind. It has been possible for some time now to use Google Maps offline by downloading a desired location although it would disappear after 30 days. This new update will hopefully bring mobile navigation to the same standard as in car navigation systems.