Jun 06 AT 12:12 PM Anthony Domanico 45 Comments

As expected, Google Maps is going offline

Google-Maps-Next-Dimension-June-6

Google has announced today that it will be taking Maps offline, right down to street level detail. An update to Maps for Android will go live in 100 countries over the next few weeks to provide users with offline access to Google Maps data for selected locations. This will give you access to essential navigation and mapping features without needing to be connected to a data network, perfect for areas with weak coverage.

It’s unclear exactly how Google will be implementing this feature, though a Maps for Android Labs option has been available for quite a while now. Under this feature, users could long-press on the screen select an area they’d like to download a map for, and Maps would initiate a download for offline access. We expect this feature will simply shed the beta tag and land on the updated maps application, hopefully with some bugfixes and feature enhancements.

Regardless, the time for rejoicing is nigh, as Google Offline Maps is coming soon to your Android device.

Anthony loves all things technology, from hardware to apps and games. You can connect with him via Google+ or Twitter by clicking one of the fancy doo-dads above.

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  • yankeesusa

    This is great. I would love that feature to come out of beta. Although lately my data with sprint has sped up and have had no need to use offline maps it is great for those days that something goes wrong. Can’t wait for this update.

    • jonathan3579

      I couldn’t agree more. I have connection issues with my HTC One S and until I receive the update, it would be nice to at least have Maps available without worrying about losing my course. I really hope this is faster and more reliable than Nokia’s offline maps.

    • zerosix

      No, it’s lame. Everyone was waiting for something completly new. 3D or something great like this. And they just announced an offline mode. Everyone will forget about it after Apple shows their 3D maps.
      I am disappointed.

      • cwjones4

        How often would you use 3D maps? I use maps primarily for navigation while driving and could care less what things look like in “3D.” This has far more practical use than “3D” maps or whatever useless feature apple will try to implement, especially if they update streetview.

        • http://www.infotainmentempire.com pekosROB

          Plus I don’t think that many places (cities) would even have a 3D version of their maps in place.

          • http://mihai.discuta-liber.com/ tmihai20

            There are plenty 3D landmarks everywhere, but as far as navigation is concerned, 3D buildings are just a pretty gimmick. It’s not like you are going to slam the brakes and stare at the building in front of you while driving. Offline Google Maps will be a killer though, I expect GPS developers to step up their game in order to compete with Google :D

        • Jimmy_Jo

          3D maps sounds like a gimmick and a waste of time. If you can’t read maps I don’t see how another dimension would make things any better

      • whosaidwhat

        They announced some cool 3D stuff. Check out Engadget or The Verge.

        • http://www.technogasms.com Sean Riley

          They did announce cool 3D stuff, but for now that just seems to be for the Google Earth app. They didn’t actually answer the question of when the new 3D would come to Maps although certainly they’ll get around to it eventually.

          • cwjones4

            engadget says it will be available on ios and android in the coming weeks

            http://www.engadget.com/2012/06/06/google-maps-earth-take-on-full-3d-maps/

            still don’t think this is really that practical but hey, it looks cool, right?

          • http://www.technogasms.com Sean Riley

            I did see that cwjones4, but I’m not 100% sure that Engadget isn’t missing something there. If you look at what Google posted on their blogs or even the responses from Google during the keynote the enhanced 3D stuff related to the Google Earth apps for Android and iOS not to the Google Maps or Navigation apps. That’s just what I took from it though, I could absolutely be wrong.

            Oh and yes it looks awesome. :)

      • john

        no idiot they did announce their 3D maps and blows the living shit out of anything apple is coming out with. Apple is totally and utterly f’d in the ass

      • LEKO

        I think you don’t understand how much offline maps is important.

        1. Less 3G/4G data consumption.
        2. Coverage everywhere: no matter your in the desert or in Antartica!
        3. Travelers can use their devices (even without 3G/wifi) to get where they want. You cache your maps before you go or while in the hotel and bingo!

        Of course, if your always in places where the coverage is excellent, it’s not an issue. But, for the very mobile users, the travelers and people in rural area, it is an excellent news!

        • Sir Giles

          You missed something that might be even more important. Battery use.

          GPS is a hungry beast demanding chopped lions instead of batteries along side a lot of processing power for the fancy maps, and data connectivity is another hungry mouth to feed. A big hungry mouth to feed. If you remove the data connectivity, you get a few extra hours of navigating if you don’t have a charger or a spare battery with you.

      • LEKO

        How apple can surpass this:

      • zerosix

        Really, my bad. I thought, going offline was the only new feature.

      • geronimo8
  • erikiksaz

    The fact that the demo was running on an Ipad shows that Android tablets might not have a powerful-enough GPU to churn out those 3d maps. Hell it even ran kinda slow on the ipad with it’s insane GPU.

    I wonder how much they’ll be able to optimize this thing before it launches.

  • http://pixelswim.com Steve Heinrich

    Offline maps is a smart move. Relying on a data connection for road trips of any length is shaky at best. It will be nice to download specific maps in their entirety. Well done Google.

    • aranea

      As far as I know once you start navigation the route is downloaded to your phone/tablet anyway. So the advantage will be for when you are going to a new place where you won’t have data connection but will need to search for navigation such as abroad.

      • SGB101

        The advantage is when you leave the pre cached route, but if you are take a wrong turn or are diverted

      • aranea

        I will get a chance to try it out next week. I’m off to Japan for a meeting and cached the map for the region I’m going through the Labs option. I’ll let everyone know how it works.

        • aranea

          Ok. Before going to Japan I downloaded the map around the area I’ll be. It works without any problem when you know where you are on the map, shows the street names and such but two key features lacking are: 1) I couldn’t search on the map if the phone was not connected to the internet; 2) Doesn’t give me directions within the saved map. I hope this new version out of beta will add these features. Plus I still want to have route dragging on the maps. Come on google!

  • AppleFUD

    it has to have offline navigation and/or search as well. . . otherwise it’s nice but not very useful – can be very hard to find a street in a big city if you have no idea where it is.

  • aranea

    As much as I’m happy with it I am disappointed in lack of dragging routes around on the map.

    • Steve Barry

      I seriously wish I could +abillion on this posting. I too would love to have the ability to have an outline of the route and drag it elsewhere to change the navigation.

  • http://www.infotainmentempire.com pekosROB

    If only this was offered in September of 2010. Damn I could have used this in Europe then! But at least we’re finally getting true offline maps! Yay Google.

  • droilfade

    This is awesome. I live on the US-Canada border and often travel to the states. I cannot use data in the states…and so had to buy a cheap ass GPS which gets me lost anyways. But with this…screw you Virgin Mobile!!!!!

  • McLovin

    I’ve never been a true believer in “The Cloud”. There are many times where the network is either slow or non-existant.

    My favorite experience to tell was using maps on my G-1 in the middle of the High Uintas in Utah. The GPS could see where I was but there was no map data because there was no network. There I was this lonely icon in the middle of nothing. LOL

  • Jeff

    This is awesome!

    I recently took a trip to northern cali. Some of the areas were so out of the way, zero cell service. I had to stop at a Starbucks to reacquire the map. (phone rebooted uugghh) Yes, I store pieces and my current route offline, but I’d like to do a whole region or state. Great news!

  • spazby

    love it

  • Guest

    > This will give you access to essential navigation

    Google SPECIFICALLY said you will be able to *DISPLAY* the maps… but *NOT* do any offline navigation.

    • WlfHart

      Before there were navigation programs people used to actually read maps to find their way… Offline maps will allow people access to those maps so they can do their own navigating.

  • Slith

    I saw one of the Google cars today. Looks like even backwoods Nebraska is getting some updated Streetview.

  • skyflakes

    This is great. I’ll download the map of the entire city and I’ll never be lost :)

  • WlfHart

    This is amazing!!! I can’t wait.

  • John

    This will be really great for all us geocachers out here. When I’m in a remote area, it’s really hard to get map readings. This will make life much easier!

  • Ardrid

    This is a feature I’ve been waiting for for quite some time. I can’t count how many times my damn Captivate has lost its GPS signal and gotten me completely turned around at a critical juncture. Can’t wait to put this feature to good use!

  • leaponover

    Just opening up the bottle for more people to cryass about their location being tracked.

    Is Korea one of the 100 countries, I would love for google maps to work here….

  • dVyper

    If they somehow are able to do navigation offline that would be brilliant…

  • smeghead68

    Offline maps are an essential for travellers who don’t want to pay data roaming charges. But I’d like to know how big are the file sizes for these? If you have an Iphone that cannot expand the memory via micorSD card you might be limited in how many maps you can save.

  • aryin

    how much space would it take up tho?

  • http://www.focuszonedevelopment.com Homncruse

    Perfect use case.

  • honourbound68

    exactly! i can also finally put my old sammy epic to good use replacing my antiquated magellan gps.