You can now (or will as soon as you get the update) take Google Maps offline, which means, of course, you can also take it off road!
Millions of us have become quite dependent on Google Maps for navigation or just information or search. It’s a very handy tool of the 21st Century. (Oh, and by the way, if you’re a business with a storefront you really need to sign on to Google My Business for, if nothing else, the map identifier.)
But we’ve all been at that point on the globe where smartphone reception is sketchy, if it exists at all, and as a result Google Maps becomes worthless. (Jeez, have to resort to paper maps? A sextant and compass? Dead reckoning? Always follow the streams.)
Long overdue, Google is fixing that by rolling out a new feature to Maps which allows users to download and store any map section which, then, becomes your offline map when phone coverage evaporates. It’s rolling out now to the Android app and will soon roll out to the iOS app.
“You can download an area by searching for a city, county or country, for instance, and tapping “Download” on the resulting place sheet, or by going to “Offline Areas” in the Google Maps menu and tapping on the “+” button,” explains the Google announcement. “Once downloaded, Google Maps will move into offline mode automatically when it recognizes you’re in a location with spotty service or no connectivity at all. When a connection is found, it will switch back online so you can easily access the full version of Maps, including live traffic conditions for your current route.”
Google promises it will only download the map when users are connected to WiFi.
Google previewed the new offline function back in May at its annual Google I/O conference and you can watch the video, if you want. (Have to be online, though.)
Google: About Me
Enough about me, what do you think about me? (Because we all know online tends to be about us, anyway, right?)
Well, Google has offered up a new tool for users to see just exactly what Google thinks about us. Using the new About Me tool you can see what Google has on you (it’s plenty) and you can actually change some of that information or adjust privacy settings to reveal or restrict (some) of the information from the public (not really from Google, though).