It’s not uncommon to have a spotty internet connection in India and this can be really frustrating when you’re trying to find your way to a new place or looking for your next turn while driving. From today, Google hopes to make getting around in India a little easier, with the launch of new offline functions in Google Maps.
You can now download an area of the world to your phone, and the next time you find there’s no connectivity — whether you’re going on a road trip to Goa, or looking up directions to your next destination from an underground parking — Google Maps will continue to work. Whereas before you could view an area of the map offline, now you can get turn-by-turn driving directions, search for specific destinations, and find useful information about places — like hours of operation, contact information and ratings — all without an internet connection.
Say you’re flying to Delhi airport, and will need to find your way to a few new places when you arrive. Before you leave, you can download the area by searching for Delhi, and then tapping “Download”. Alternatively, you can go to “Offline Areas” in the Google Maps menu and tapping on the “+” button. Once you’ve downloaded your map, Google Maps will still work when you’re making your way around Delhi, even when you’re somewhere with spotty service or no connectivity at all. When a connection is found, it will switch back online so you can easily access the full version of Maps, including live traffic conditions for your current route. Google Maps will, by default, download areas to your device only when you are on a Wi-Fi connection.
Google first previewed these new capabilities during Google I/O in May, and starting rolling out these features globally last week. They are gradually rolling out the first set of these improvements with the latest version of Google Maps on Android (coming soon to iOS) in India. Over time, we’ll be introducing even more offline features to help you find your way—even when you can’t find a connection.