At the annual I/O 2015 event in San Francisco, the search engine giant Google announced that Google Maps will soon work both online and offline. The offline support will be launching later this year but Google hasn’t mentioned whether or not it will be region-specific. This feature will allow users to get turn-by-turn directions with voice prompts even when they’re away from an Internet connection.
Google showed off the technology on stage at Google I/O using a phone in airplane mode, and it worked seamlessly. The offline support service will be useful in emerging countries where there are challenges of data connection, speed and cost.
Recently, the search giant also launched an offline feature for YouTube that allows users to take videos offline, using WiFi or their data plans. Once taken offline, the videos can be viewed without an Internet connection for up to 48 hours, allowing people to enjoy YouTube videos without worrying about slow connections.
There were many important announcements made by Google at the annual event. It launched the developer preview release of the next version of Android, known as Android M for now. The company said that it has fixed many bugs in this release and the consumer launch is scheduled for fall.
It has also introduced Android Pay through which users can make payments. “With Android Pay, you can simply unlock your phone like you normally do, place it near a merchant’s contactless terminal, and you’re good to go. You don’t even need to open an app—just tap and go. You’ll also see a payment confirmation and get transaction details right on your phone,” Google said. Also, with select retailers, the loyalty programmes and special offers will be automatically applied at checkout. Users can also select buy with Android Pay for making online transactions.
“Now on Tap”
In the upcoming Android M release, Google will launch ‘Now on Tap’ to provide contextual assistance. With “Now on tap,” a user can simply tap and hold the home button for assistance without having to leave what he/she is doing—whether in an app or on a website. “If you’re chatting with a friend about where to get dinner, Google can bring you quick info about the place your friend recommends. You’ll also see other apps on your phone, like OpenTable or Yelp, so you can easily make a reservation, read reviews or check out the menu,” said Aparna Chennapragada, Director of Product Management, in a blog post.