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Google Maps to Go 'Offline'

Google Maps to Go 'Offline'Google Maps to Go 'Offline'

Google announced on Friday it will offer its mobile mapping application, Google Maps, completely offline, according to Engadget. Now if a user has no mobile signal, or their 3G signal continues to drop out, users can now have their entire route and even country saved offline.

The offline support was demoed at the annual I/O conference. After pulling up directions in Maps, the phone is put into airplane mode—usually the kiss of death for any mapping app. Turn-by-turn mapping application remains active even when the plane is in "airplane mode" and many of the functions that are usually available online are also now available in this new option.

A similar streamlined approach to offline support is used for YouTube and websites on Chrome. YouTube’s feature is a simple archiving tool that allows a user to save a video for offline viewing for up to two days. Even more intriguing is something called Network Quality Estimator for Chrome which analyzes the network connection to optimize both the search results and any web pages the user clicks on, loading pages faster and prioritizing text and information over data-intensive images.

The offline support will obviously benefit the millions of users in Iran where service is spotty or nonexistent without a Wi-Fi connection. But these are also incredibly useful tools for navigating cities, where subways, buildings, hills, and tunnels interrupt our ability to keep tabs on where people are and where people are going. The service now offered in this latest update is nothing new. Over the past 10 years Nokia Maps, now called Here Maps, has offered entire downloads of countries, including Iran, with turn-by-turn navigation offered in all countries, except Iran.