11
Jul
unnamed

There are a lot of cool things about the new Google Maps update, but a few features from the old app didn't make the jump. Google made a big deal about offline maps when it was added a few years ago. So it's a little surprising to see this feature missing in Maps v7... or is it? Mountain View has included a bit of an Easter Egg here.

2013-07-10 08.00.47

If you want to cache an area for offline access, just go to that part in the app, then type "Ok Maps" in the search box. Speaking the phrase with voice input will also work. Google Maps will cache the area you're looking at for offline access, but there doesn't seem to be any way to manage your offline maps like there used to be. You might have to clear the app's data to reclaim that space.

Update: Make this map area available offline is now also present if you click into the search box and scroll all the way down, like so:

Screenshot_2013-07-10-22-35-13

My Maps is also missing in action as of this update, but it will return later. A future version will bring back support for custom maps. No timing was given, so the desktop is the only place to do that currently.

[Google Maps Support, Google Blog]

Ryan Whitwam
Ryan is a tech/science writer, skeptic, lover of all things electronic, and Android fan. In his spare time he reads golden-age sci-fi and sleeps, but rarely at the same time. His wife tolerates him as few would.

He's the author of a sci-fi novel called The Crooked City, which is available on Amazon and Google Play. http://goo.gl/WQIXBM

  • Wyatt Neal

    Based on the demonstration that was given at I/O, I think I can understand why they pulled out the "My Maps" feature. With the new way that they are building the data related to what you google would call "your map" that's probably got to be a pretty big overhaul.

    The "OK Maps" still feels a little hackish to me, but I guess not much more than pressing and holding randomly on the map until some magic box says "You sure you want to download this area?"

  • Alex Flynn

    'Ok Maps' is crap. It was a meaningful feature, so they shouldnt have released an update without including it properly.

    • PhoenixPath

      Bingo. And this "OK Maps" thing is new to this version...so they removed the easier way to access this functionality in lieu of some esoteric, un-documented method that no-one would ever logically to intuitively assume.

      Way to go, El Goog. I'm a fan, but stupid is stupid.

      • nxym

        no fan of google says 'El Goog'

        • PhoenixPath

          Apparently, you are incorrect.

          (Current owner of Nexus 10, HTC One, and eagerly anticipating the refresh of n7)

          • Guillaume ‘XpLoDWilD’

            No Nexus 4? Well...

        • Jachym Kokesh Lukes

          That's true, usually I just say WTF Google? It seems like if hey pushed the Publish button prematurely :)

        • atlouiedog

          What about Spanish speakers who really miss 1-800-GOOG-411?

    • Enno S.

      I like it ... its so much faster than all off those menues you had to use before ...

      • http://platypus.blox.pl/ najodleglejszy

        you mean pressing "search" and typing "ok maps" is faster than pressing an action overflow button and choosing "make available offline"? huh.

        • MindFever

          He meant in general probably...which i agree.

      • http://mwinter.in/ Yan Gabriel Minário

        How the fuck press 7 buttons is faster than pressing 2?

    • pganja

      Android is the new Windows :-)

  • heike1975

    And somewhere in Finland Nokia is dancing and welcoming another bunch of former-Android users...

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      Well yeah, except for that whole part about HERE Maps being pretty crappy.

    • hot_spare

      'OK maps' is a weird choice. That being said, there is absolutely no reason to jump to 'Here' maps. POI is something Nokia just can't do.

    • southerndinner

      Nokia is only dancing around their dwindling money pile

    • MindFever

      Aaahahaha GOOD JOKE...because it's funny that someone would switch to WP8 phones :D

  • http://ramonnavarro.tumblr.com Ramon Navarro

    No Latitude option I'm a little sad about that but I can live with it! But no labs, no offline maps, no terrain options and no My Places which I use to pre-plan all my trips, holidays and night's out, I am majorly raged!!

    • Bluewall

      The article says that offline Maps IS here. :p

      • Simon Belmont

        Yeah. But it's kind of lame and severely crippled.

        This update seems nice cosmetically and functionally in some areas. However, it takes some nice stuff away.

        • lewishnl

          There's only one thing I can find wrong with it, that is, the loss of the ability to delete individual area caches. Frankly tho, I think we can live without this for a couple weeks. Terrain options, yes, this makes it feel a little barren, but when was the last time you actually used this? Labs? Really, you want access to buggy things that they don't recommend rather than letting them fully test and implement them? My Places, I actually agree here, that was a rather nice and not often used feature, hopefully they'll re-introduce it with a fan-fair.

          • Simon Belmont

            I actually do use cached maps. I geocache in places that have no signal at all and cached maps are a boon to that end. So, yes, being able to delete certain areas is useful. For me it is, at least.

            I'm not really too annoyed at the Maps update, frankly. Aesthetically it does look a lot better, though I never hated the old UI. I'm actually more upset at the retirement of Latitude because I used that a lot with family for safety reasons on trips and vacations. Google is really pushing G+, which I suppose is understandable.

          • Will

            No, my places is not there. At least not any saved maps. This app is next to worthless for me and everyone in my company now.

        • MindFever

          How is it severely crippled? Your fingers wont fall off

          • Simon Belmont

            I don't even think I need to answer that. It's been discussed at length above.

            But here goes. They took away the ability to delete sections of cached maps, and they basically buried this feature, which does happen to be useful. Am I super upset about it? No. I assume they'll bring it back when they've refined how it works on the newer version of Maps. Cheers.

    • Cerberus_tm

      Yeah, I'm definitely not "updating" that. Find an older APK somewhere.

    • KevinM2k

      Latitude has been implemented in Google+, open left panel and click on locations... there it is! :)

      • Luis

        Google AGAIN trying to push its stupid Google+!! I don't want to use that thing!!!!!

      • http://dennisbareis.com/ Dennis Bareis

        They should have left a link from maps to Google+ latitude. I can see how logically it could fit in either app but the invite mechanism is easier as its by circle.

    • Alex

      I got an email yesterday saying that Latitude is being discontinued on 9th August but that Google+ will have some location sharing features you can use.

    • JonJJon

      Is Google going on an iOS-ifying spree? Are they going to downgrade all of our apps in their feature sets? I sure hope not, not just for beautification.

  • Pascal

    We have street view, google navigation, were I live, but I can't save maps in that area, why?

    • Christopher Lee

      Are you sure you're not trying to download too wide an area?

      • PhoenixPath

        That's stupid. No, I am not being harsh, Google screwed up.

        The only limitation on the size of the area should be the amount of space you have left on your device. If it needs to break it up into "zones", it should do that without making the user "guess" at what size those zones need to be.

        • Christopher Lee

          Settle down, there. I agree it's a silly restriction, but it is one that exists programically and so it's a valid question you can reply to without being snarky about it.

          • PhoenixPath

            fyi: I wasn't calling you stupid, I was calling the artificial restriction stupid. Any snark detected would be directed at Google.

            Sorry you don't feel the response was deserved. People differ in opinion and how strongly they are held... Who knew?

        • montahchos

          My brother has lumia 820.
          he download google maps, and guess what? it can download offline maps whole country when android even can't download a little area on my country.
          seriously google why???

          • Makoute

            google maps isn't on the lumia 820 as an app.

          • montahchos

            Checked my brother's phone
            You are right
            There is an app called google map
            But it's not from google

      • Pascal

        Yes, I can save maps in other country, but when I try save part of Slovakia "map preloading is not available in this area".

  • http://bjunity.org/ Bill B

    I live within an hour (or two) drive of some remote areas in western NC/SC, and eastern TN that are quite accessible by car, but have no cellular service (not just data, but even voice coverage is spotty). I'm sure that can't be the only areas in the U.S. like that. Being able to cache maps is critical.

    I'm wondering if Google detects those areas perhaps and caches automatically? I dunno. Wish they'd be a little more open about what they're removing, and why, and if any workarounds exist.

    'OK Maps' is so half-baked, and how would anybody discover that if it didn't show up an article somewhere? Fail.

    • lewishnl

      They've obviously been working hard on making this new Google Maps awesome and haven't yet fully implemented offline maps, so are introducing it as a tester feature (basically a labs, without the tagline, option). I'm sure they are working on getting more Google Now stuff in there.

    • Larry Strother

      True DAT!

  • yankeesusa

    Can someone explain my maps? I never used it but it sounds like its something that could be very useful to use

    • mgamerz

      You can put your own pins on a map and save it as a personal new one and share it. I used it to mark apartments when I was looking for one.

    • Alex Flynn

      You could get directions from A to B, then drag the directions around to create your own route. Then save that route to your 'My Maps', then view those custom directions as a layer in the app. Im planning a cycling holiday and thats what I did... now I'm screwed.

      • southerndinner

        lol fag cyclist

        • MindFever

          You are fat

      • lewishnl

        You could always not install the update/revert?

    • Dipish

      I use it everytime I travel to put my selected POIs on the map when planning my trip so that I can access them quickly. The "Starred places" never worked for me because it's just one big list of places with no way of grouping them, while I need to make lists like "Spain 2013 vacation". The using experience of My Maps on both desktop and mobile was never very good but better than nothing. Third party trip planning apps didn't suit my needs.

      The new Maps Engine Lite (MPL) looks very promising and powerful but alas it's incomplete and currently there's no way to even search something in Google Maps and then save the place to my custom MPL map...

  • Christopher Lee

    The offline maps handling just seems a little silly-- leaving it under the overflow spinner never bothered anyone. I assume it may be back in the future, but I'm quite lost for reasons you would make a useful feature hidden (since it's clearly not an implementation issue-- otherwise, why include the OK Maps shortcut at all?).

    • PhoenixPath

      Especially considering that shortcut is *new* to this version...(I checked, it did not work on the last version).

    • lewishnl

      It's obviously been re-written from scratch and so before they put it "live", i.e. draw attention to it, they wanted to test it. Anyways, with the new search entry thing, they basically have (all they need to do now is restore the selection dialogue so you can see how much space it will take up and how large is the largest area you can cache).

      • Christopher Lee

        Do you have documentation demonstrating it's been rewritten from scratch? Because it's hardly unheard of to do a full UI rewrite without changing the backend.

  • ithehappy

    'Little surprise'? Nice wordings.
    Idiot.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      Excellent responses.

    • southerndinner

      cry

  • James_C_L

    question... How do you see other routes while in a route like the previous version

  • http://www.youtube.com/crisr82 Kristian Ivanov

    Offline maps were never available in Spain, so as far as I'm concerned, nothing of value was lost

    • Dipish

      I never understood that... Are there some political restrictions that would allow them to *display* maps in Spain but not *download* regions to cache?

      • http://www.youtube.com/crisr82 Kristian Ivanov

        Not that I know of...all maps work fine, but when you try to save all it says "not available for this region"...and I've tried in many different cities.

        • Tacomonster

          Still doesn't work in Spain, even with the 'okay maps' trick.

    • Dipish

      Btw have you tried to save an area in Spain in the new GMaps app? Maybe it changed?

      • http://www.youtube.com/crisr82 Kristian Ivanov

        Haven't used it for a couple of months (just went and bought a real navigation app with full offline usage), but yeah, as far as I know it was still like this

    • Göran Sävström

      Sorry, but what are you talking about?
      I live in Spain (Oh, well.. Catalunya - but let's not get into political discussions here jajaja) and I have/had (don't think this particular update reached us yet) offline maps...

      • roberto.elena

        You can have offline maps while in Spain, but not maps from Spain. I mean, you can donwload a map of Paris, for example, while in Spain, but you cannot download a map of Barcelona.
        When offline maps was a labs feature, you could download maps from Spain, but not anymore.

      • http://www.youtube.com/crisr82 Kristian Ivanov

        Segovia, Madrid, Vialba, Avila and Valladolid are the places I tested it on, which is pretty much central Spain...no clue why over there you were able to but I always got the "not available" message

        • Cerberus_tm

          Wow, that sucks! I've just tested it: only regions close to France or Portugal are available, like the north of Catalunya, but not Bercelona.

          • http://www.youtube.com/crisr82 Kristian Ivanov

            It's just weird :c
            Oh well, plenty of better GPS apps out there...the only downside is the price =/

  • ncs

    am i the only one that sees a reference to "OK Glass"?

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      I hope not. It's obvious, isn't it? Though dumb.

  • mgamerz

    Titanium backup to the rescue!

  • Dipish

    That was really stupid of them to cutting off My Maps functionality first in Desktop (Web) Maps and now on Mobile Maps before their new Maps Engine Lite is ready and integrated with the main maps. I used that feature for my trips...

    • MindFever

      Temporarily...TEMPORARILY. It will come back

      • Dipish

        But nobody knows when. It's bad when you break a feature that works and has users rely on it without providing a working substitute.

        • Edd

          I agree. I'm scared about "Temporarily"

      • Junco

        Yeah. Well, Temporarily means you cannot use your phone for a task you might really need _right now_ if you were silly enough to enable GMaps to update automatically. I'm down to doing every update manually now.

      • Maria

        But not before my next trip :( It seems I'm back to printing all of my maps for travelling

  • María Teresa Ruiz de Rosati

    I can't access the explore option, it doesn't appear when I click the search box. I think the new UI is nice, but the use is far more confusing, at least here in Latin America, that by the way, keeps being ignored by Google for buying anything other than apps.

  • Thatguyfromvienna

    Can anybody recommend a good offline map app?
    I'd like to store foreign cities in advance, if possible with info like restaurants, police stations, public transports.
    When it really works, I'm more than willing to dish out some money for it.

    • Dipish

      I think Sygic is a decent offline navigation app. They use TomTom's maps but unlike TomTom (which is a nightmare to use, at least on Android) they provide a usable interface.

      • Thatguyfromvienna

        Sygic is a bit on the hefty side as I don't need turn-by-turn navigation; just storing offline maps doesn't really justify this price tag for me. ;-)

        • Dipish

          Oh, sorry then, I haven't really looked into "just offline maps" category...

          • Thatguyfromvienna

            You're working for Google, right? ^^

          • Dipish

            um... no, why? :)

          • Thatguyfromvienna

            Because you haven't looked into offline maps. ;-)

          • Dipish

            Oh, I get the pun))) Yeah that's how Googlers must think :)

        • bob

          There are a lot of offline map app
          city maps 2 go
          maps with me
          locus pro (not tried)
          I think they're a good alternative till google brings it back

          • Thatguyfromvienna

            Tha-hanks! Will have a look.

    • Joachim Geeraert

      Have a look at MyTrails; you can download tiles from any of 30+ providers, incl Google, Yahoo, MS, OSM, IGN, OS etc

    • ugm6hr

      Advanced Map Viewer

      https://code.google.com/p/mapsforge/
      Simple and lightweight app for offline viewing of openstreetmap maps. No directions, no searching and no restaurants etc (though public transport / bus stops are labelled for UK maps). Basically just views the map, just like you used to with a paper map. I use it for all my holidays.
      Hope the tip helps.

  • Ben Napper

    No Latitude? Really? I love the new UI, but I'd rather they waited until they had Latitude and proper offline support. Was there a rush to get this out the door?

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Latitude is dead, brah.

      • mesmorino

        Good riddance too

    • http://turbofool.com Jarrett Lennon Kaufman

      They killed Latitude today. No reason to wait for it if it's over.

  • Jeff Packard

    Seems they are moving in the exact opposite direction from what I want. I'd like My Maps to work with Navigation, but that looks unlikely. Do we know how long they cache the area for, I like to know when I go to the lake that I have access to the map because my cell phone coverage is terrible in that area. I'll probably wait for the next release and hope some of these things reappear. Though I'm not holding my breath.

  • http://turbofool.com Jarrett Lennon Kaufman

    I'm not too worried about this. But what I'm really waiting for is for Waze to better influence the traffic and routing data of Google Maps. The latest update is great, but when I run the same route in Maps and Waze and see the dramatic difference in routing time between the two, I'm stuck using Waze despite all the beautiful, solid features of the new Maps.

  • Peter Papoulakos

    I drive over 1500 miles a week and downloading maps in google maps was useless. If the add it back I hope they let you download whole states instead small useless sections.

    • Luis Augusto Fretes Cuevas

      Or the whole country. With stores and venues and everything included, like Nokia does. That said, the new design is for the most part gorgeous.

  • Thiago Medeiros

    Offline maps used to work in Brazil, but not anymore for a long time. What is the reason for that?

  • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

    Looks like there's another way to cache maps. Make this map area available offline is also present if you click into the search box and scroll all the way down.

    • bunnybash

      Any news on the cache size? My initial feeling is that it's smaller than what was previously available.

  • http://dennisbareis.com/ Dennis Bareis

    The old way was crap, the new way is just crappier. The old way was fine except it wouldn't accept large maps but wouldn't set the rectangle to the largest size.

  • Bjajjull

    I can't find the Explore "button"... Gone for me.

    • http://dennisbareis.com/ Dennis Bareis

      I don't have it either but I don't have the top left menu either on my Nexus 4, part of it is cut off and on the bottom left of the screen

      • Bjajjull

        Well, it's bottom left instead of top left so it's nothing wrong with that, it's supposed to be like that ;)

        • http://dennisbareis.com/ Dennis Bareis

          If so it doesn't follow any standard I know of and its not that way on my Nexus 7. Its also not all the way to the bottom and its chopped off in the middle.

          • Bjajjull

            Yes but I think it's better bottom down because you never touch or swipe there. If it would be in the top you would accidentally get to the Navigation Drawer.

  • Sven Andresen

    I don't have this version on my android device yet... but I just live in DK.

  • Alvin Brinson

    So... is Apple going to sue Google for copying them again? By screwing up maps?

    • lewishnl

      Dude, shut up. Either revert or don't complain.

      • Alvin Brinson

        It's called HUMOR... get with it.

    • MindFever

      ... whatever man

    • Brent Olsen

      Don't worry I get the irony in your joke. LOL, quick one, nice!

  • bunnybash

    I am not sure how to test it but the cache size available available smaller than what was available previously too. Come on Google why sick small cache sizes?

    • BillPosters

      The region size that can be saved offline is smaller, but you can save as many regions as you like. They need to improve the interface so we can see the borders of the offline regions. Or they need to just allow whole regions to be saved, such as states. It's really strange how Google doesn't want people using offline maps. I suppose when people are offline it means no ads can be delivered, or no profile updates or social sharing data can happen. Offline doesn't suit Google's evil money making strategies. Glad they've reinstated offline maps. I think this latest update is an improvement in terms of navigation integration. It's very easy to get directions now.

  • Scott

    I'm still waiting for the update on my phone :(

  • Sven Andresen

    Could be nice if we got the version in Denmark too.... even if we are not the biggest country, we have more phones and tablets pr citizen, then a lot of other countries....

  • Dayle Soares

    please bring back the traffic widget

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Wait wait wait, the traffic widget is gone? Holy shit, waaaat.

      • Dayle Soares

        yes it is no longer available for me on 7.0.1 on nex4 and gnex :( both running stock 4.2.2 rooted

      • Dayle Soares

        yes both my gnex and n4 running stock 4.2.2 don't have it anymore on 7.0.1

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

          I'm very disappointed that they took this functionality out. It was a little half baked, but instead of finishing it, they just killed it. The wife is going to be devastated.

  • moelsen8

    Where's the scale bar??? And zoom buttons??? I can't pinch to zoom while driving! (I know, I know..). Labs????? This update is a huge step backwards.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      The Labs seem to be gone.

      • MindFever

        Tap and hold the finger on the screen then slide up/down to zoom in or out :-) cool huh?

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

          That's been in Maps for many months.

    • MindFever

      A neat trick :double tapp and hold the finger on the maps screen,then slide it up to ZOOM IN or slide it down TO ZOOM OUT. Way easier than buttons I think

  • Rolf

    Too many Maps articles so I'm going to ask here again:
    In the new Navigation, is there a way to just use the map while driving
    (in the navigation view) without entering a destination - as it was before by tapping on "Map"?

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Good question. Maps and Navigation used to be 2 separate apps, but now nav is just part of maps, so I don't think there is as it cancels the current route if you back out.

      • Rolf

        That pretty much kills it for me because sometimes I like just having navigation turned on while driving. I don't get why one would cut out so much of a good working app. Probably to sell a future Wuze app ...

    • nxtiak

      I agree, I'm really hating this update. They're trying to make the UI all slick and minimal and clean but by doing so they dumbed down Maps so much it's unusable!
      I expect this from Apple with their shitty built in apps, but not from Google!

  • Kie

    So what happens to all the offline maps i've currently saved? Are they just sitting somewhere and taking up space on my phone now?

    • BillPosters

      It's likely your old offline maps were deleted when you updated the app. Offline maps are stored as application cache data. They are not saved as separate files. To see how much room your offline maps take up in the new Google maps, go to application settings and have a look at the cache size. My offline maps take up about 300 MB , which is about 2 large cities plus their outer areas.

  • disqus blows

    Today for the first time I'm getting a "this app needs a data connection" error, and maps won't open. Thanks, Google. I don't have a data connection on this phone, that's why I cached my maps already. Wtf?

  • ArizonaDem

    I ended up downgrading back to the earlier version. They took my maps off. That pisses me off. They made it worse! I have several maps that I use in my maps on a regular basis. They fucked it up!

  • Dt Bell

    I think this has seriously handicapped Navigation, people depending on Navigation will have to study up on the new configuration.
    Has Google failed to realize the importance of their innovation?
    It would also be nice to have some sort of simpler destination bookmarking, rather than all the left handed stuff of marking through maps, and then sniggling through to navigation.
    No one remembers phone numbers because of their smartphone, now no one plans their destination for the same reason.

  • James

    why would anyone from Google think Ok Maps is a good idea? Just use the menu tab. All the labs are gone as well

  • nxtiak

    Where' s the APK for 7.0.1 for 4.2.2 devices?

  • kmand

    Is there some way to actually use the saved "offline" maps when you are offline. I just get a network error.

  • Sophie

    Thank you! Going mad trying to work out how to download maps for offline.

  • ojas

    Ur mad!!! ok maps is just like digital zoomm... when u zoom in it dosnt give details.. it just starts showing road width n few details' Few'
    Offline maps use to download each n every details of d map... I downloaded it by ok maps.. stops wifi n mobile net zoomed in maps details missing only double line road, then mobile net started with d same map screen it gave me 7-8 names of d buildings roads n other stuff..

    • http://dennisbareis.com/ Dennis Bareis

      Maps has been vector based for quite a while now....

  • Ike

    My Places is a very important part of my business. I refuse to update my phone because Google as removed it from the update. I hope the bring it back ASAP. I can't believe they removed it!!

  • Horrible Horrors

    It was a Crap update on the New Google Map. Hassle to use . Pointless update. Google, please design a more User friendly map app, not everyone is a genius to use this complicated app. LISTEN UP !!!

  • Maria

    I hate the fact that they removed My Places. It was my favourtie feature and I used it all the time while travelling. Research cool stuff on the computer, mark it in My places and then look it up on the phone. It was awesome. But not now the whole Maps application is ruined for me!! I really hope they bring it back.

  • Bangusboneless

    I made a mistake of updating....I needed the google labs.. offline cache, terrain level maps, and the part where you can plot a distance map.... Google maps do NOT give me the shortest route so I needed the last part because I can calculate the distance. All are gone now... replaced by just a plain old map that gives the wrong turn and longest route.

  • Mike Dolan

    I can't believe the "my maps" feature is gone. As a surveyor, that tool was indispensable for navigating new pipeline locations and such in the field (wilderness). Any alternative suggestions? Specifically to be able to load a .kmz file on a map that can be accessed offline.

  • snaptree

    Ver 7 just plane STINKS! How I loved Ver 6. Now I need to find another map application that is actually usable.

  • Michael Molinaro

    Eliminating MY Places access from android access really sucks!

  • Steven

    Will they ever put back my maps / my places on this app. The worst thing ever they ever did was take it away. I still like the old maps from two years ago so much better. I had a map of all my clients saved on my computer at home and I could access them with the older app