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Google brings back menu option for offline maps in the latest Google Maps update

Yesterday, following the update to Google Maps, we learned that the offline maps option had been taken out of the application. This invaluable feature was relied on by many-a people, and folks cried out to have it return. Google actually left it in the application and made it possible to prompt the action by searching for “OK Maps,” but its lack of a traditional menu option had us worried that it would soon be gone.

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We’re glad to say that isn’t the case. Google has listened to user feedback and brought the menu option back in a new follow-up update. Users can select the ‘Make this map area available offline’ card below the search box for easier access to the feature.

So why was the menu option removed in the first place? An earlier post by Google on Google+ revealed the company would soon be looking to introduce a new implementation of the offline maps feature, telling users that it would eventually return in one way or another. It made no sense for Google to take the menu option for the current implementation out before it was ready, though, so we’re pleased it’s back as a stopgap for the real deal.

This update to Google Maps also brings a “Where’s Latitude” link that will explain to users why there is no longer an option to use Google Latitude. If you haven’t heard, Google has decided to completely retire Latitude beginning August 9th, though the company has already removed remnants of the feature from its various Maps applications. You can get the upgrade from the Google Play Store.

[via Google+]




  • Scott Breitbach

    In all of the new Maps screenshots I see this new “Explore” photo/card, but I’m not seeing it in my update (Note 2 running 4.1.2). Is this a 4.2 thing? I was going to check on my N7, but haven’t received the Maps update yet.

    • Treknologist

      I wasn’t seeing it either but I just tested it away from home (I’m at my office) and it showed up now. I’m guessing it doesn’t show when you are home. Is that where you were testing it?

      • Scott Breitbach

        @Treknologist: That suggests to me that perhaps it only does it in bigger cities? I’m not seeing it at home or at work, but both have populations in the 4-digits.
        @moopuna/@pierrekid: Did all that, still no “Explore” card. I should probably also point out, though, that I am seeing the card with the Restaurant/Coffee/Bar/Fuel… icons.

    • pierrekid

      It’s there. Click on the search bar and it appears. Same phone and same firmware.

    • shelderman

      I don’t see it either. I’m on the new 7.0.1 version on 4.2.2.

    • moopuna

      Shows up for me… just click in the search bar then scroll down… when the keyboard goes away it should pop up

      • shelderman

        No can do. All I see is the new Offline maps card. And I’m at work.

  • pierrekid

    Hey quentyn, you should raise awareness about the turn by turn navigation being removed for public transit. Pretty sure they just neglected every major city in America, including new York city. This feature is essential!

    • http://www.phandroid.com Quentyn Kennemer

      I didn’t even realize. I rely on that feature from time-to-time!

    • remister

      I had raised the same concern through the feedback and the review of app itself.

    • Paul_Werner

      Strange, I see it in mine. I live in Milwaukee, WI though. Not sure why they’d remove it for a city as big as NYC

      • pierrekid

        You probably have an earlier version because this new one definitely does not have one.

        • Paul_Werner

          Nope, it’s the new one. See here.

          Never mind… I see what you mean. You can’t trigger the actual turn by turn as far as I can see either. Sorry for the confusion

          • pierrekid

            That’s not navigation friend, just directions and maps. Their is no icon to the right for starting navigation.

          • Paul_Werner

            Yeah, noticed after my post :-| never mind me. Good thing I don’t depend on it or public transport

  • IronHorse01

    Funny thing is I have yet to get a single update from maps lol

    • MooseCat

      Same but good to know it’ll be there when it finally rolls out to me.

    • Dan

      same here, Galaxy Note 2

      • IronHorse01

        Htc one, hope we get this soon!

      • cusinemakaty

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        I wasn’t seeing it either but I
        just tested it away from home (I’m at my office) and it showed up now.
        I’m guessing it doesn’t show when you are home. Is that where you were
        testing it?

    • Anthony Tran

      The previous article about Maps had the APK for the new maps. I downloaded and sideloaded it last night. Got the latest Maps update with the offline maps via the Play Store this morning. If you wanna try out the new Maps without waiting, it’s easy enough to sideload the APK :)

  • Carl Rood

    Hopefully, the new feature they’re working on will be to download multiple zones in one shot. It’s annoying to plan a long trip and not be able to have the whole thing offline. When you’re driving hundreds of miles, dead zones are inevitable.

    • Scott Breitbach

      Yeah, it would be nice to be able to save a navigation route. Shake your phone and suggest the feature, I guess. :P

  • Brandon Watkins

    I got it at about 7 this morning

  • shonangreg

    My maps says it was updated July 11, and it is version 6.14.4. This is on android 4.2.2 and 4.0.4 in Japan, FWIW.