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Google updates its new Maps app to restore simple offline functionality

Brad Chacos | July 12, 2013
A mere day after a new Android version of Google Maps came down the pipeline, it's already being updated to restore an offline mode scoured from the original release.

Google new maps

Well, that didn't take long. On Wednesday, Google rolled out an update to the Android version of its uber-popular Maps app, adding a bevy of new features: a slicker interface, Waze-style smart navigation options, suggestions for nearby places of interests, and a whole lot more.

But for all the good packed into the update, one glaring negative stuck out like a sore thumb: The new Maps killed the option to cache maps for offline use. Well, sort of. You could still store an offline cache of the area you're looking at in Maps, but only by typing "OK Maps" into the search bar. Basically, a crucial function was hidden behind a sly, Google Glass-referencing Easter Egg.

The uproar was instantaneous--and amazingly, so was Google's response. In the wee hours of Thursday morning, the company announced on its Google Maps Google+ page that yet another update was on the way, one designed to add a "Make this map area available offline" card below the search bar. Even more, that update is scheduled to start rolling out today.

Fast food orders don't even get processed that quickly. Now, if only updates to the core Android operating system could start showing up with that kind of speed ...


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