Error parsing XSLT file: \xslt\FacebookOpenGraph.xslt Google adds offline functionality to Android Maps app
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Google adds offline functionality to Android Maps app

Date: 11 November 2015   |   Author: Daniel Puddicombe

Google has updated its Android Maps app, allowing it to work when not connected to the internet.

Users are able to see directions, find business locations, opening hours and telephone numbers while offline - should they download an area while connected to the internet.

So far, the update is only being rolled out to the Android app, but an updated iOS version will follow.

To make use of the offline mode, customers will need to download an area to the phone's internal memory, with most of Greater London taking up 380MB on a device.

The app has been designed so it is able to switch between online and offline modes. For instance, if a driver starts a journey underground, the app will suggest a route based on typical conditions and then adjust the route once it gains access to the internet.

The offline mode will automatically update itself every 15 days provided the handset is plugged into a charger and connected to wifi.

Google said that tourists visiting countries outside their mobile data allowances would benefit the most from the update.

Speaking to the BBC, product manager Amanda Bishop said the American technology giant had been working on the update for two to three years.

"Google Maps happened to be really slow or completely unusable in many scenarios due to limited mobile internet."

"Users now don't have to do all that screenshot jujitsu before they leave [in case they lose access], and there's much faster load times for search and driving directions," Bishop added.

"Everybody on our team who uses it can't stand it when they have to use the old app because it's crazy how frequently you find yourself seeing that spinner waiting for results. Once you get used to it returning them in a second every single time, you quickly get used to how snappy the app feels."

Rival mapping service Here has allowed users to download maps to its app for a number of years.