Google Maps has rolled out a new offline mode allowing for driving directions and search, providing access to turn-by-turn directions and several other features in areas without a reliable cellular data or internet connection.
According to BBC reports, the new features will begin rolling out to Android users later on Tuesday, and Google says the iOS roll out will follow soon. Offline search and navigation was one of the biggest announcements, nearly six months later, that feature is finally reaching users.
The option to save certain areas has existed in Google Maps since 2012, but this is the first time they have been indexed for search and navigation. That means if you save the city you live in, you will be able to search for a place to have dinner and get a response without a cellular connection. Because of space constraints, the businesses stored will have names, star ratings, and phone numbers, but no photos or user reviews.
Similarly, directions will work from average traffic time rather than loading in real-time traffic data, although the route will update as soon as the connection is restored. The initial rollout does not include transit or walking directions, largely due to space considerations, but Google says those features will be added in the months to come.
The feature will be most useful for anyone navigating without a cellular connection, either in a dead zone or a foreign country that requires a second SIM. But project manager Amanda Bishop says even standard users will notice maps loading faster, because of the erratic nature of even the best data connections.
According to Google’s research, the average phone is offline for 10 percent of the day, much of which results from simple network congestion.