Google has just announced that they plan to bring the full Offline functionality in its Google Maps app on Android over the next few weeks. Google would also like to bring these features to other other popular operating systems, WP7 and iOS, but there is nothing concrete on that.
The Maps android app by Google, that comes preloaded with each and every android phone, will be receiving an update for the offline mode. Users will be able to touch and hold on an area on the map, upon which they will get an option to download the whole of that area for offline access anytime anywhere, working up to street level.
Offline access is available in Google Maps app is at this moment too. You need to enable it under labs (settings) of Google Maps app. For that, open the Maps app, get your route or are o the screen that you wish to be cached, then go to the app’s settings » Labs » and select the ‘pre-cache map area’ checkbox. This will allow you to cache that area already on your map. Though, the update will bring detailed downloading for later uses too, naturally better than current caching technique, in terms of longevity and details.
The offline update will be launched in over 100 countries, over the next few weeks – no solid time frame was given, sadly. The offline feature would work on selected locations. Now what does that actually mean will be known only when you and us actually use it after the update.
Another cool addition is ‘highly-detailed 3D maps’ (see the pic above). It looks very impressive, and very clear and detailed. Even tress will pop out for you, it’s said. And how Google did it is even more interesting – at least to me. The company says they own a fleet of airplanes and have some on contract, with camera attached to them to enable them to take shots at no more than just 45 degree angle. Outright impressive, right?