Earlier, we reported that Google was finally offering offline navigation for the Google Maps app on Android devices. This was to eliminate what Google called “screenshot jujitsu” and help the app better compete with other navigation applications like Here Maps as well as standalone navigation systems. Although the roll-out had officially begun, offline support for many parts of the world, including Malaysia, was still missing.
Finally, after much anticipation, the application supports offline navigation within our home soil.
With this feature, users can expect an improved navigation experience using the Maps app especially in areas where connectivity is bad, or when you want to save those precious few bytes of your quota. Google employs two different uses for their new offline navigation feature. The first is to bolster online navigation with the app, when connectivity is spotty at best, allowing Maps to freely switch between offline and online mode ensuring that you don’t lose crucial navigation information just because you entered an area with bad coverage.
The second method is where users can opt to switch off connectivity completely and rely on the app to navigate with the pre-downloaded offline areas. To download an area, simply key in the location (or tap and hold a point on the map) and swipe up on the card that appears at the bottom. Then, select ‘download’ on the resulting screen, specify your desired region and tap the download button once more.
Downloaded maps are stored on your device, so remember to free up some space before you decide to give this feature a spin. As an estimate, the amount of space required to download the greater area of Petaling Jaya and Kuala Lumpur is about 300MB, whereas if you want offline navigation for Peninsular Malaysia, you will need to free up at least 1.5GB of space.
Offline maps can be kept on your device for a total of 30 days. By default, stored locations will be updated via WiFi but that can be changed in the offline areas settings to allow for updates to be downloaded over a mobile network or to not be updated at all.
This is definitely a bold move by Google, stepping into the world of offline navigation, but whether this move will pay off remains to be seen. Do give this feature a try the next time you need to navigate in unfamiliar territory, then let us know what you think of it in the comment section below. Does it stack up to already established offline navigation applications like Here Maps?
Many thanks to NightFelix for the tip.