Google Maps Updates for the New Year

Google Maps has just released news about recent updates for the app for the new year. The smartphone app will now have updated capabilities that will ultimately add much convenience for users. Maps will now be accessible without an internet connection. Users often become frustrated at the thought of having a lost connection, whether it is from having a dropped call or lost connection in the middle of using an app. One of those frustrations may include when a connection is lost during the usage of Google Maps in the middle of navigating from point A to point B. With its newest update, however, users will be able to drive to their destinations without any worry of losing their way.

In the app, the user must select the offline usage option. Users are able to download certain areas, locations, and destinations of their choice to save to their records prior to their trip. Furthermore, those saved locations will be available with every update to ensure its accuracy.

How to Download an Offline Map:

  1. Launch the Google Maps app and log into a Google account.
  2. Search for the location or city.
  3. Click the bar at the bottom of the screen with the name of the searched location.
  4. Click “Download.”
  5. Google will then show a map of the desired area. Click “Download” again.

However, Google Maps still has some limitations with this new feature. For instance, only driving directions are accessible offline, and a user is incapable of using this feature while walking, cycling, or using a form of transit.

Google will also add another feature to the Maps App. The Driving Mode will access the user’s location and driving history in order to predict where the driver could be heading to. Moreover, the Driving Mode will also predict destinations based off of previous searches. Some searches may include going to and/or from work or home, which most users tend to save in the App anyway. It will also familiarize itself with the certain driving routes a user may take since most smartphone users keep their locations setting on. Based off of the frequency of a certain route, Google Maps will automatically recommend the most frequent route or even display any traffic, construction, or other delayed activities that may be on the route. It may also suggest taking other routes as well.

Despite how much convenience this may bring to Maps’ users, there are some concerns that may come to mind regarding these new updates. For example, providing predictive data and services may invade one’s privacy. The updated app will need to familiarize itself with the user’s daily driving habits. If a user tends to take the same route home and at the same time, Maps will automatically become aware of this habit. If a user does not feel comfortable with this privacy issue, then they will have no way of activating this update. Any blocked data or services will automatically not allow the use of the app at all.

It was rumored at the beginning of the year that the new Google Maps update will release at the end of the week. The new update will release for Android users first and will be available in an English version for now. Moreover, the app will only be available in the United States, Singapore, Malaysia, New Zealand, Ireland, and Great Britain. Maps will still provide its old features like travel duration and nearby gas stations, with the added feature of providing nearby gas prices. While there are already some cars this year that have managed to provide Maps via Bluetooth capabilities right onto their dashboard, Google will continue to advance as technology expands as well.

By Tricia Manalansan
Edited by Leigh Haugh

Metro: Google Maps knows where you want to go before you do
Mobile&Apps: Google Maps Adds New Driving Mode To Major Update
TIME: How to Use Google Maps Without An Internet Connection
Image Courtesy of John Karakatsanis’ Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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