After many years of connection, disconnection, thankfulness and frustration, Google has finally decided to change these mixed emotions about its turn by turn navigation, for the better, by making Google Maps available offline. The big announcement came in the Google I/O event being held in San Francisco, as an attempt to make Sundar Pichai’s dream of making the Google Maps Offline Navigation feature services available to all, a reality.
Google Maps is one of the most used navigation tools of this generation, and despite its downfalls, it is still a favorite for many. Google attempts to reassure that it stays that way by listening to the grievances and the feedback of its users and working on them. The search giant announced that the Google Maps Offline Navigation feature will enable us to download a region or an area of a map, and use it offline for turn-by-turn navigations, performing offline searches about the whereabouts of certain places in the region and even searching for places like restaurants, etc.
While all these are amazing, it should be noted that they are not new and the offline navigation feature has existed for almost a decade now. Nokia had offline and online Ovi Maps as early as 2007. The Ovi Maps got updated to Here Maps by 2012, which again provided the ability to save the map of an entire state or even multiple states or even the entire regions the application can navigate (as long as you have enough memory in your device). .
Here Maps could even perform offline searches and find nearby cuisines and other places as well and what’s more, further updates provided it with the ability to track the speed at which you are travelling in real time, and yes this feature works flawlessly, it was personally tested by us on own very own Lumia 1020.
On the contrary, Google so far has been amazing at providing advanced functionalities like Google Earth, Street View, very detailed close-up views, the ability to venture into certain monuments and buildings of importance and lots more, but all of these services need an excellent internet connection, which is not available everywhere. The people inhabiting the western countries have easy access to 4G LTE connectivity speeds so much, that they find it literally impossible to use Google Maps in other countries. Hence, the Google Maps Offline Navigation feature is a must have.
In countries like India, the network connectivity speeds are very low, with 3G hardly providing speeds of 1 Mbps on an average basis and at most times, the turn-by-turn navigation fails to indicate a turn in the right time due to imperfect connectivity we end up missing the turn. We can attest the fact that this is almost non-present in the Here Drive offline navigation maps systems from Nokia.
With the Google Maps Offline Navigation feature, we expect the performance of the Google navigation system to increase dramatically. This also means that once an offline map is loaded, you can confidently start your journey into the unchartered territories where the network connection is extremely weak or does not exist at all.
The Google Maps Offline Navigation feature sounds exciting and we cannot wait to see it in action. Though Google should have had it years back, it is better late than never.