Google reinstates offline Maps for Android after public censure

Less than a day after it removed the offline maps functionality from Google Maps, Google has been forced to put it back in.
Written by Spandas Lui, Contributor

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Google has since rescinded its decision, and put offline map browsing back into Google Maps.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

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