After an update rolled out Monday, Google Maps for iOS now features gas prices, offline maps, and the busiest hours when you wouldn’t want to shop at your favorite store. The company announced that the update was necessary to bring the app in line with its Android version.
But we may assume that the web search giant also wants to gain an edge against rival Apple whose Maps app is used three times more on iPhones and iPads than Google Maps. Earlier this year, Apple announced a partnership with Gasbuddy to help it improve its Maps app with real-time gas prices.
But while other apps tried to just to list gas prices, the Google Maps update enables mobile phone users to pick several gas stations in their area and compare gasoline prices.
Additionally, what other similar apps lack is the store traffic feature of the new update. Google Maps will now be able to show which are the busiest hours in some stores or venues. The traffic will be displayed as graphs and will be based on real-time data gathered from shoppers, who agreed to have their smartphones tracked when going in and out of a store.
The system is very similar to Google car traffic – traffic data is collected from anonymous users who opted to share their location data with the tech giant.
But the most impressive feature is the ability to visualize maps and navigate while having no connection. The feature was announced earlier this year during a devs conference and was released for Android last month.
iPhone and iPad users can now download selections of a map and view them offline. The maps will be downloaded along with store traffic hour info and ratings. But they will also provide the possibility of turn-by-turn directions.
In a recent blog post Google explained that the app would have a smart method of detecting when an area lacks connectivity or has a weak connection so it can switch Google Maps to offline mode.
Users can download selections of a map to view them offline by either tapping the download button or by accessing the Offline Areas tab and clicking on the ‘+’ button. If a map is downloaded the app will automatically switch to offline mode when there is no connectivity. Once connection is restored, the app gets back to online mode and provides users with updated live traffic feed.
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