Check into the Google Play store this morning and you’ll find a whole heap of updates from Google. Apps inluding Chrome, Google Play Books, Google+, Google Earth have been updated and Google Maps now has an “Offline Mode”.
What is this? Well, remember years ago when we used TomTom to navigate the roads and we never had to worry about data usage? That’s effectively what you have here. Before you set off, hook into your home WiFi, choose a town, city or area and then click “Make available offline”. Google Maps will then download everything it needs for that area and, whether you’re sat on the tube or in a field with no signal, you can browse around the maps and streets you downloaded.
To test things out I chose London – it’s a 6.6MB download for the area I selected. I then switched to “Flight Mode” and browsed the map I’d cached. It allows you to zoom right into the streets and lanes of London, although don’t go expecting “Street View” because that really WOULD be a massive download.
Give it a try yourself – it could save you a considerable amount of data use, so saving you money ! :)
More screenshots below. The last screenshot shows me browsing the cached London streets whilst in “Airplane mode” (don’t get me started on the fact that it should be called “Aeroplane mode”… :)