New Google Maps Features Now Accessible Offline

January 12, 2016

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. roll out /roʊl aʊt/ (v.) – to launch a new product
Example: The company rolled out its own version of a laptop with touchscreen features.

2. functionality /ˌfʌŋkʃəˈnæləti/ (n.) – a set of actions that something is capable of doing
ExampleNew functionalities are included in the latest app update.

3. feature /ˈfi tʃər/ (n.) – a part or quality of something
ExampleUsers were not satisfied with the device's outdated features.

4. retrieve /rɪˈtriv/ (v.) – to get something back
ExampleThe IT personnel helped him retrieve the deleted file.

5. transition /trænˈzɪʃ ən/ (n.) – to change or move from one situation to another
ExampleShe had a smooth transition from high school to college.


Read the text below.
Google released an updated version of Google Maps that enables users to use the app offline.

Early last year, Google announced its plan to make Google Maps available to its users even without Internet connection. In November 2015, the multinational technology company started to roll out the latest updates in Google Maps. Its new offline functionalities include searching for specific locations, getting turn-by-turn driving directions, and receiving information about different places.

Since 2012, Google Maps users were already able to access the app even when online connectivity is unavailable. However, the previous version only allowed users to pan and zoom maps. Now, users can already enjoy more useful features just by downloading specific map areas.

Once a specific map area is downloaded, all information for that area can still be retrieved for later use even if there is no Internet connection. Since Google updates the maps’ information regularly, the app can automatically install upgrades when the user connects to the Internet. The online-offline transition does not affect the app’s usability. Users can get information offline without experiencing interruptions.

Google’s new Maps app was first released to Android users. The iOS version was developed and released shortly afterwards. The company confirms that more offline features will be added as it continues to improve the new Google Maps.

Interestingly, before Google launched the new Google Maps, Nokia had already been providing similar features through its HERE app. Like the new Google Maps, HERE can be used offline.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you think the offline features of Google Maps will be used by many people in your country? Why or why not?
·         Which is more common in your community: paper maps or digital maps? Why do you think so?

Discussion B

·         Do you think it is still important for people to learn how to use paper maps? Why or why not?
·         Would you like to live in a world where Internet connection is available everywhere? Why is that so?

January 12, 2016