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Google Maps lets users save regions for offline use in India


Google has updated Maps to work offline. To use the feature, users can search for the location on the Maps app and select the download option or can go to “Offline Areas” in the menu and tap the “+” button.

The app allows users to select the area of the map which they want to take offline as well as provides an estimate of how much disk space it will consume. The offline map size ranges based on the area size selected. We couldn’t select area larger than say little over half the state of Maharashtra, with the map size topping off at 400MB. The smallest selectable area on the map comes in at 150MB. Users can save multiple offline areas, however the saved areas ‘expire’ in 30 days. We aren’t quite sure what that means, if the data will be auto deleted, or if it will require an update while users still continue to use it offline.

Google mentions that the Maps will automatically switch to offline maps if available, when in areas with spotty service or no connectivity. The maps will also switch back to online mode when in network so as to provide users with live traffic conditions and other real time features. The maps can only be downloaded when on WiFi, which kind of makes sense since at minimum the offline map seems to need a 100MB download. On the other hand, users in good connection areas moving to spotty connection areas might also want to use this feature, so why not leave it up to the users?

Note that Google had first previewed these at its I/O developer conference held in May this year. At the time the company mentioned that users would be able to check features like the destination address, phone number, opening hours, reviews, turn by turn directions along with voice directions (for saved routes) offline. Interestingly, the feature has been in incubation since 2012 in beta and was available via Google Labs.

Other developments:

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– Earlier this month, Google announced two new offers for  Indian businesses and startups, including credits worth $20,000 for Google Cloud Services.

– In October, Google shut down its Great Online Shopping Festival in India (GOSF). The company had started GOSF in 2012 as the Cyber Monday for India to encourage more Indians to shop online by offering them the best of deals across portals.

– In the same month, Google launched a new public transport app called Delhi Public Transport Offline, that lets users check direction and timetable information about New Delhi metros and buses.

– In September, Google announced that it would tie-up with the Indian Railways and RailTel to provide high speed WiFi coverage in 400 stations across India.

– The same month, Google rolled out physical Google Play Gift Cards in retail outlets including Spice Hotspot, Vijay Sales, Planet M, Planet Mobile and Sangeetha Mobile across India. It also announced IT degrees called Android Nanodegrees and scholarships in partnership with online education platform Udacity and Tata Trusts.

– In June, Google Maps added traffic information of 12 more cities and national highways in India.

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