Google reinstates offline Maps for Android after public censure

Google reinstates offline Maps for Android after public censure

Summary: Less than a day after it removed the offline maps functionality from Google Maps, Google has been forced to put it back in.

TOPICS: Apps, Google

Less than 24 hours after removing the offline maps browsing capability from Google Maps for Android, Google has returned the feature back to the app as the public reached for pitchforks.

The tech juggernaut announced yesterday that its updated Maps app now has a number of new features, including enhanced navigation, integrated restaurant reviews, and an Explore function, with which users can browse pubs, cafes, hotels, and restaurants in particular locations.

Google also removed some other features, such as Latitude, which allowed users to share their location with friends. Latitude has been killed off, but location sharing can still be done through the company's social networking platform, Google+.

But what really put a lot of panties in a twist was Google pulling the offline map browsing function. Users wasted no time on posting caustic comments on Google Maps' Google+ page.

Google has since rescinded its decision, and put offline map browsing back into Google Maps.

"We've been happy to hear so many of you enjoying the interface and features of the new Google Maps app for Android, but we know some of you are missing an easy way to access maps offline," Google said in a Google+ post. "That's why our engineering team has been working around the clock to add a 'Make this map area available offline' card below the search box for easy access."

Typing "OK maps" will also activate that feature. iOS users missed all the drama because their Maps update has yet to be released.

It is the season for tech giants to backflip on major decisions after public outrage. Last month, Microsoft backflipped on its policy for the upcoming Xbox One console that would require users to always be online to prevent game piracy.

The move was made after the company was left red faced when its chief rival, Sony, mocked Xbox One's "always-on" policy in a marketing campaign, taking advantage of widespread public disapproval.

Topics: Apps, Google

Spandas Lui

About Spandas Lui

Spandas forayed into tech journalism in 2009 as a fresh university graduate spurring her passion for all things tech. Based in Australia, Spandas covers enterprise and business IT.

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  • Google is not a customer company

    Google is an advertising company.
    Google will only do things in its own best interest, even a minor backpedal like this.

    Get used to it. You are the product.
    • No Google is a tech company

      that uses advertising to help fund it's business.

      So according to your logic ESPN is an advertising company because it depend on ads to fund it show as with every magazine, TV network , newspaper etc etc.
      • Google is an Advertising company

        Look at where their revenue comes from. They are an Ad company that gives away software.

        Microsoft is mostly a software company that sells ads. It's quite different.
        John Hanks
  • Offline maps...

    I played around with offline maps once and didn't find it particularly useful. You're very limited in the area you can have offline.

    What I really want is an offline base map of the entire country. Doesn't have to have POIs, or restaurants, or even gas stations. As long as it has all the street names and numbers I'm cool with it. That way, if I stray into a data dead zone, I can still get back home, or any place whose address I happen to know.
    • Offline Maps Alternative

      Even before Google dropped offline and reinstated it, I was frustrated that the downloaded offline maps sometimes didn't work without warning.
      I'm now using another free app called CoPilot GPS. I downloaded street maps for the entire US onto my phone. I find the interface to be confusing compared to Google, but it has always worked so far, can do offline route planning, and I don't have to remember to pre-download an area before I leave.
    • Get a GPS!

      Garmin, Tom Tom, whatever. They all store the map inside the device, so you can at least find out where you are if you cannot get a (x)G cell signal. All of them allow you to browse any part of the map without regard to GPS signals also (i.e. find your location if you can, then browse around that area on the map.
  • wow it must suck not having Nokia maps

    maybe someday google will catch up
  • why is there a picture of an

    iPhone when the iPhone doesn't run Android?
  • Google maps offline implementation is completely brain dead

    Where are those offline maps stored? The docs say the app folder (truly moronic.) And if you have a map app that uses the google map sdk, there isn't even an option for that app's developer to store offline.

    Want a phone that implements maps intelligently? Get a Windows 8 phone.
    • competitive.

      interesting. every review I've read says the major mapping apps are faily competitive with the exception of Apple. I've read several that favor Nokia maps and several that favor Google. each has ups and downs.
  • majurrent location/street removed!

    DON'T UPDATE! Horrendous! Horrible since July 2013 update. Navigation is atrocious now. All useful features removed. Navigation icon as well as current location REMOVED.
  • location/street removed!

    DON'T UPDATE! Horrendous! Horrible since July 2013 update. Navigation is atrocious now. All useful features removed. Navigation icon as well as current location REMOVED.