Google Maps for Android adds downloads for offline access

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Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) introduced a new Maps for Android feature enabling mobile users to access location data even when they're offline. Google Maps 5.7 for Android's new "Download map area lab" enables network-connected consumers to open up any Places page across the globe in advance of traveling to that locale, downloading map information encompassing a 10-mile radius--in the event data coverage or Wi-Fi is unavailable on arrival, the Google Map is already stored on the user's smartphone.

"You'll never need to carry a paper map again," writes Google Maps for mobile director of product management Chikai Ohazama on the Official Google Mobile Blog. Ohazama adds that the new download feature stores only base map tiles and landmarks--users still need a data connection to see satellite view and 3D buildings, search for Places and access directions.

Last month, Google added live transit updates to its Maps solution for mobile devices and the desktop, updating consumers on when their bus or subway train will actually arrive, as opposed to when it is scheduled to arrive. Google is partnering with transit agencies in four U.S. cities (Boston, San Diego, San Francisco and Portland, Ore.) as well as two European cities (Madrid, Spain and Turin, Italy) to integrate real-time transit data into the Maps platform--when users click on a transit station or route, the application will identify delays or alerts related to their route, as well as live departure times and service updates.

For more:
- read this Official Google Mobile Blog entry

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