Google Maps to Get New Offline Search , Navigation Features
Google, besides announcing a slew of OS
updates and features alongside Android M at the Google I/O 2015 keynote event, also said it would soon be bringing offline search to its
Google Maps app. The app will also feature
complete voice-based turn-by-turn navigation
while in offline mode. Both features will be
made available sometime later this year.
The new offline features announced for Google Maps are aimed mainly for "emerging markets" where mobile Internet coverage is spotty, and
data charges expensive, as navigation via GPS is
independent of mobile networks. In the past, Google had introduced offline rerouting during
navigation, which would reroute users even if
they lose their Internet connection while
navigating. Now, the entire process of
navigation can be done when offline. The
offline features are also useful for those users who are travelling to less-connected spots. The
features will also come handy for those who are
searching for directions when travelling in
underground metros or via flight.
The offline search feature would enable users to
search for places and points of interest, with
results including autocomplete suggestions as
well as reviews, contact numbers, opening
hours and other information. The Google I/O
2015 keynote event saw the feature being demoed on a handset on Airplane mode and it
seemed to work seamlessly.
Google launched its offline maps feature in 2012. The feature at that time allowed users to
avail offline functionality in over 150 countries
and save up to six large metro areas. The search
giant last week rolled out native Maps app for
Android Wear devices, alongside translucent
status bar and other features.
Finally, Google at I/O 2015 also announced
updates for its Google Places API for iOS,
bringing it on par with Android with such new
features as adding a place picker, current device
location, detailed place information, search
autocomplete, the ability to add places to Google's Places database, and more.