February 13, 2015

Google is Becoming More Offline-Friendly With Recent Maps, Plus Additions

By Justin H.

The world as we know it is starting to show signs of a societal shift back towards the unplugged. In an era where every moment is documented in some form of social media sharing, it is possible we have all hit our breaking point. Privacy is becoming valued once again, and Google is listening. Its new Google Maps feature allows users to save maps for offline use, and Google Plus has also acquired the photo sharing app Odysee, which is also useable offline. Who can afford to be online all the time anyway with the prices of unlimited date packages? Who are we, the Rockefellers?

With recent controversies such as the iCloud hacking scandal, as well as the hot topic of net neutrality, more and more people are becoming cautious of their Internet usage. At Tek Shouts!, we have also covered the Right to be Forgotten, which continues to pick up steam as well. Google’s two recent additions are no coincidence: offline is in!

Access Google Maps Anywhere

Now officially 10 years old, Google celebrated by making Maps available for offline users. This feature should not be ignored by any avid travelers whose phones are often subject to shoddy network connections whilst on their adventures. Compatible with iOS and Android, the offline feature is easy to find and use! All the user has to do is select “save offline map” from the drop-down menu in the top right corner of the Google Maps screen. This allows you to save the map on your phone, where you can later access it offline in “your places” from the app menu. You can even rename or update any of your maps at any time, until they are automatically cleared after 30 days. Simple, right?

Google Plus Privacy

The acquisition of Odysee is much more significant in web-users’ fight for the right to privacy. Odysee is an app for iOS and Android that allows users to automatically backup all their photos or videos to a desktop computer. It functions somewhat similar to iCloud, except it provides a more secure and streamlined platform for photo sharing. For Google Plus, this is just more fuel to the fire of its already stellar photo application.

There have been rumors that Google Plus Photos will be splitting away from Google Plus completely, and become its own standalone app. Since Google Plus receives over 1.5 billion photo uploads every week, it would be more beneficial for it to stand on its own feet. Odysee has arrived just in time for Google to take off the training wheels and beef up Google Plus Photos. You will be able to follow other users and share photos with them, sort of like Instagram. Currently, there is not a profound application that allows users to save and view photos offline. Google Plus Photos and Odysee will be a match made in heaven.

What’s up, Google Docs?

Oh, you thought we were done? Google is in the giving mood this year, and they will not stop until you have more offline goodies than you can handle. The Google Blog also recently announced that Google Docs are now accessible offline when working in a Chrome browser. You can edit your documents and visit Google Drive, Sheets or Slides without relying on an internet connection.

The icing on the cake is that Google cares so much about your offline needs they have even invested in a patent for a smart device that will spray you with some pleasant aromas when it senses that you stink.

Offline browsing may still be more of a luxury than a necessity at this point, but Google has jumped ahead of the curve. These are some new ideas and features that could eventually pave the way for a new era of offline and more affordable internet browsing.

Do you ever use offline features? Have we begun to share too much? Let us hear it in the comment section below!

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