Google has updated Maps on iOS so that its features are more in line with its Android sibling. The updated features, some of which have already been announced and rolled out, include offline maps and navigation, busiest venue/store hours and gas prices.
While other mobile apps have offered gas prices in the past, this small update adds convenience and utility, enabling users to locate stations and simultaneously compare prices.
Another small but useful addition to Maps for iOS, previously only on Android, is store traffic graphs. These visually illustrate when the venue or business location is likely to be busiest. This is like Google car traffic data, but for foot traffic. The company captures the data from “anonymized and aggregated visits to places from Google users who have opted-in to sharing location data.”
The most significant of the three recent upgrades to Google Maps on iOS is offline maps and navigation. This feature, pre-announced at Google’s developer conference, started to roll out for Android users in November. Now it’s coming to iOS.
Google Maps users on the iPhone will be able to download desired map areas for access offline. This includes all relevant maps content (e.g., contact information, ratings and business hours) for the designated area. Most significantly, it includes turn-by-turn navigation. According to Google:
You can download an area by searching for a city, county or country, for instance, and tapping “Download” on the resulting place sheet, or by going to “Offline Areas” in the Google Maps menu and tapping on the “+” button. Once downloaded, Google Maps will move into offline mode automatically when it recognizes you’re in a location with spotty service or no connectivity at all. When a connection is found, it will switch back online so you can easily access the full version of Maps, including live traffic conditions for your current route.
These updates come amid reports that Apple Maps is used three times as often as Google Maps on the iPhone and that Apple sees “more than 5 billion map-related requests each week.”
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