Back at Google I/O earlier this year, Google teased offline maps and turn-by-turn navigation in Google Maps, a feature that many of us have wanted for a long, long time. Today, that feature comes to fruition.
As of today's Maps update, users will be able to save specific areas to their devices when they know that they'll be in an area with poor data coverage. When an unacceptable connection is detected, Maps will automatically switch to offline mode; turn-by-turn directions, searches, store hours, and the like will all continue to be available.
You'll be able to grab the desired areas by searching for a city, county, or country, then tapping the "download" button on the card. Really, it's pretty straightforward.
The app update will start rolling out gradually to Android users today, with support for iOS coming "soon." We don't have the APK yet, but as soon as we do, you will too.
- Google Blog