Google-Maps-ImageIn typical Google fashion, Google is continuing to always ad new features and capabilities that keep Google Maps ahead of the competition.  One of the interesting things that came out of I/O Thursday, Google gave us a big shocker.  You’ll be be able to use Google Maps search and voice guided turn-by-turn navigation while completely offline.

This is great news for anybody who doesn’t have a data connection, an inconsistent one, or limited monthly bandwidth.  This is good news for people who want to get directions from their devices to a chosen destination, but don’t want to pay international data charges, or want to obtain a local SIM card.  This feature can be great for developing markets and places in the world where there isn’t much of a data connection, if at all.

The offline turn-by-turn directions will still rely on GPS.  This feature, being quite the breakthrough, is great partly because of its scope, as well as the fact it doesn’t require the user to download the map or a section of the map onto the phone.

During the keynote, Google said that offline maps will be available “later this year.”  For those using iOS, you’ll be able to make use of this new feature as well

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