Google Maps for Android already lets you download maps to view later, even when you don’t have an internet connection. But right now offline Maps have limited functionality.
Later this year Google plans to roll out an update that lets you download a map for a region and then search for places and even get turn-by-turn voice directions without an internet connection.
Notice the airplane mode icon in the image above? Yep. That’s a phone in airplane mode showing driving directions on a phone that’s not connected to the internet.
Google is positioning the feature as something that will be useful in developing nations where internet access can be spotty, at best. But I’ve certainly driven through parts of the United States where I’d appreciate a directions that work when my phone loses its internet connection.
In addition to search and directions, Google’s new version of offline maps will support auto-suggest results when you start to enter a search term, and it will offer details about the places you search for, including phone numbers and reviews.