Google Maps may not be the app that we talk to a colleague about all the time or we’re always looking forward to an update, but let’s face it: it breaks a huge branch and takes away a lot of trouble.However, the mobile internet does not collaborate from time to time and can leave anyone – literally – lost.But these problems are over now.
Starting today (10), Android users will receive application update 9.17, which adds the “Offline Areas” tool.This feature allows anyone to download the map of the region in advance and navigate through it without depending on the unstable 3G/4G signal or additional packet charges.
The novelty was designed especially for the portion of the public that does not use Google Maps because of the consumption of mobile data, that is, those who have low purchasing power.In addition, the ability to switch between offline and online mode quickly can solve some serious navigation problems and help a lot of people.
The feature was expected since the beginning of the year as it had been confirmed during Google I/O 2015 .However, it is worth mentioning that Brazil will be one of the first in the world to gain the update, because, according to a Google research on 3G defined at Photionary, our country is one of the most suffering with the mobile internet infrastructure and one of five with more users of the App.
The same Google Maps, but offline?Almost that
Well, the first thing you should know is that Google opted to release a more basic version so that users already enjoy some cool features instead of compiling various features and releasing a more complete version in the future.
So what you can do right now is:Caching from any area up to 50 square kilometers in the world, browsing downloaded content, performing voice commands, and looking at the entire map just like the online version.However, at the moment this function is only available for vehicles, ie no routes on foot or public transport.
By contrast, all the basic information is kept:restaurant names, airports, hospitals and more.You can even pull the card from these places and find number of phones and other data such as opening hours and menu, for example.However, it should be noted that all maps have an expiration period of 30 days.The reason?Google does not think it’s safe to keep outdated routes for so long.After all, the streets can change direction or the like.
What to expect for the future of Google Maps?
At first, the idea is not to put all the features present in the utility at once.Over time, more news will come to offline mode, such as the possibility to search for routes to other means of transportation, to see small samples of the Streetview in the cards of the establishments etc.
In addition, Google is looking at reducing mobile data consumption by merging cached files with online information.Of course, some functions, such as traffic and real-time bus arrival forecast, will not reach the offline mode, because they depend exclusively on the internet connection.
The focus of the company is to bring the resource to drivers and optimize navigation performance.In other words, if you’re using Maps and the connection crashes, the application can quickly identify this situation and use the cached information to keep you from getting lost on the way.
How to use the function?
Although it is a great addition to Maps, it’s no use forgetting to download the content and want to use it at the time of the squeeze.To do this, simply search the desired location, such as the city of São Paulo, scroll on the place card and select the download option.The map file can range from 15 to over 800 MB, it all depends on the amount of information in the city and the size of the desired area (which can not exceed 50 km²).
To access your data offline, go to the menu “hambuguer” (the one with three stripes), located in the upper left corner of the screen, and select “Offline Areas”.As mentioned above, it is possible to use the function without the internet or have it as a support for when your internet signal fails.
For now, only on Android
As with all Google applications, the news of Maps today arrived only for Android.However, if you are an iOS user and want to try the function, rest assured:the company has already confirmed that it should arrive soon and is already in the test period.
The update starts being distributed today, but that does not mean that everyone will receive it at the same time.If you do not have the update this Tuesday (10), do not worry:until next week (on the 17th), all smartphones will receive it.
Update:Google has sent us up-to-date information today saying that, in fact, the limit is not by square kilometers, as previously reported, but by size in bytes.The download file can cover an even larger location, as long as it respects the weight of up to 2.5 GB.To illustrate better:a map that covers Greater São Paulo, São Bernado do Campo and part of Santana de Parnaíba weighs about 300 MB.
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