Getting around in a foreign city or a big city in the United States can cost you a pretty penny to get turn-by-turn directions. Those who download Google’s new Offline Maps can get there free.
“The tool allows users to be in a place without Internet access and pull up a map that lets them get directions and use turn-by-turn voice navigation, as well as search for places (art galleries, restaurants, hotels, museums) and see details including hours, phone numbers and reviews,” says Stephanie Rosenbloom, The New York Times.
Previously, you could look at offline maps by downloading them over Wi-Fi. But having the ability to use turn-by-turn directions, or search for attractions while being offline is new.
“Using Google Maps offline requires minimal planning. When you’re in a place that has Wi-Fi, simply download a map to your smartphone by opening the app, then go to “offline areas,” and tap the “+” button. Alternatively, you can search for a city, county or country and then tap the ‘download’ button,” Rosenbloom adds.
Google limits the size of the offline map, but it allows you to download multiple maps.
Rosenbloom says, “When you’re in an area without an Internet connection, Google Maps will automatically switch into offline mode. When you’re back in a place with Wi-Fi, Google switches back online.”
Other apps besides Google offer offline maps that you can download on your smartphone, including Maps.me, City Maps 2Go and Pocket Earth Pro. Several of these apps let you search for streets and nearby places. Some have reviews and several are free.
— Adapted from “With Google’s Offline Maps, Getting Around Gets Cheaper,” Stephanie Rosenbloom, The New York Times.
Google Local Guides
Google also recently expanded its Local Guides program, whose members give reviews of restaurants and hotels in Google Maps and Google search. Google encourages reviews through a rewards program. It awards points to members for writing reviews, uploading photos and giving updates. Members can receive early access to new products and online data storage for their points.