Google Maps’ offline mode is now open to users in India, more than a week after Google first revealed it was introducing downloads to Android users.
Google has offered an offline mode of sorts since 2011, but it was restricted insofar as you could only capture a small area to view offline, and it didn’t include navigation.
Google announced last week that it would begin letting users download entire cities and countries, while also retaining useful turn-by-turn navigation, and other information such as companies’ opening times. The feature hasn’t yet been open to all regions of the world, and it continues to be missing from many countries, though the global rollout is still ongoing.
The India launch is particularly notable, partly because it represents a major growth market for all tech companies, including Google and Facebook, but also because Internet access can still be spotty across the country. With offline mode, anyone can download a region over Wi-Fi and then access it even if they lose their connection.
Today’s news comes a month after Google launched its first ever dedicated public transport app, and it was made available only in New Delhi. Built by the main Google Maps team, the Android-only app offered full offline access for those with spotty mobile Internet. So bringing full offline mode to the main Google Maps app makes sense.
The new offline feature is only open to Android users for now, though it will be landing in the iOS incarnation “soon,” according to Google.