Google Increases Offline Functionality For Maps; Now Rolling Out On Android

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poochiepiano

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This is literally the only reason I ever felt like I should get a data plan. This is fantastic news. Now I feel better about being a cheapo and staying with my prepaid minutes plan in 2015 :D
 

InvalidError

Titan
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Maps has always had an offline mode, albeit with limited offline directions. They hid it some time over a year ago but saving maps was still accessible by typing "ok maps" in the search box.

I find it funny that Google needed this many years to realize that people might not want to waste a fair chunk of their data plan to use their apps while away from WiFi for stuff they could easily have downloaded in advance for offline access.
 

They didn't just now realize it, they've known it all along. They've just been ignoring it because they're really pushing cloud computing. They wanted people to get used to the idea of their phone GPS requiring a data connection to function. It's the same reason Google Apps (Office replacement) is all done online, why the Nexus devices have no microSD card storage, why the Chromebooks only have 16GB of storage.
 

heffeque

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The "ok maps" command stopped working years ago.
 

InvalidError

Titan
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It usually works fine for me and I have used it multiple times over the past two years, the most recent of which being about a month ago. I got lost due to construction detours and if offline Maps hadn't worked, I would have had to dig out my paper maps.

Just make sure you aren't trying to save a larger area than Maps allows, otherwise all you get is a "map too large" message.
 

heffeque

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Well... it hasn't worked on the Samsung Galaxy Fame (yes it's old and crappy) for years and right now it's not working on the iPhone 4 either (yes also old). In both cases it says that it's "unsupported". Not sure why it's working for you.
 

InvalidError

Titan
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Could be a perk for owning a Nexus-branded device - I have a 2012 Nexus 7. I haven't owned anything else long enough to run into a situation where I needed to save a map.
 

Dugimodo

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I just use Here maps if I'm out of coverage, free and lets me download the entire country not just small areas. As for data usage, never understood the problem. I navigate with google maps frequently and the data usage is tiny.
 

targetdrone

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Too little too late. I bought a Garmin with lifetime map updates because Google was unwilling to the ability to navigate off line and the offline maps they did provided were very limited in size in size.
 

gggplaya

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This is really good news for ANDROID AUTO users which only have google maps for navigation, as of now. I hope HERE maps or tomtom or garmin come up with an android auto solution.
 

80-watt Hamster

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Finally. As one of the few holdouts in the First World without mobile data, this is great news. I've been using mobile Maps since getting a 2012 N7 early in its life. Maps had offline functionality back then, but Google arbitrarily took it away at some point. Was not a happy camper. Then it came back in an update. Yay! But the max size was so tiny; you couldn't select more than a few square miles. Storage concerns or not, this is long overdue.
 

InvalidError

Titan
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The last time I used 'ok maps' I saved somewhere in the neighborhood of two hundred square miles - the whole area of a ~30km trip from my home to my destination. I think that qualifies as a little more than what I would call a few. Enough to make sure I had enough map data to find my way if I got lost.

Being able to save a whole region as one map instead of being forced to save individual areas of interest (or nothing at all for non-Nexus devices it seems) does make things much simpler.
 

rundmcarlson

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The last time I used 'ok maps' I saved somewhere in the neighborhood of two hundred square miles - the whole area of a ~30km trip from my home to my destination. I think that qualifies as a little more than what I would call a few. Enough to make sure I had enough map data to find my way if I got lost.

Being able to save a whole region as one map instead of being forced to save individual areas of interest (or nothing at all for non-Nexus devices it seems) does make things much simpler.
The square mileage depends on the map density. You aren't going to get 200 square miles (or even 20) of NYC or LA or any other major city. 200 square miles of montana isn't an issue.
 

80-watt Hamster

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Huh. Never found that; not surprising since I don't use voice commands. I haven't used offline maps a ton, and "a few" is a relative term. The time I ran into the size limit was when I was headed to a rural location, and the max map area only got me to within the last 5-10 miles or so (don't remember exactly, which I guess is between 25 and 100 mi^2. So more than a few by most measures, but fewer than I was looking for in that case.
 

I'd be happier if Google Maps dynamically saved maps in areas you're traveling through. That is, they add a setting which lets you save, say, up to 100 MB of map data. Whenever you use Maps, the last 100 MB of Map data is stored on the device. If you enter a new area, that data gets downloaded and saved, and pushes the oldest saved area out of storage.

Several times I've been using Maps to navigate and it crashes (display locks up). I'm forced to reboot my phone, I start up Maps again and... I'm in an area with poor cellular coverage so it takes several minutes to re-download the map of the area I was just in. So I have to pull the car over to the side of the road (since I don't know where I'm supposed to go), and wait several minutes for Maps to finish downloading before it can resume navigation. Whereas it already had the map data and route prior to the reboot.

To me that's a more common issue than wanting to pre-save maps because I know I'm going to be hiking somewhere where there's no cellular data coverage. Best would be if they could combine the two. So I could designate an area as always-save. It will download and save the maps for that area. If it has a data connection while navigating, it will check that area's maps for updates and download as necessary. But if there's no data connection (or it's limited), it will rely on the saved maps for navigation instead of waiting for an update before telling me where to go.
 
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