Google Maps now offers offline navigation and search

As one of the most popular and most used navigation and mapping apps on smartphones today, it's hard to imagine Google Maps getting much better than it already is. Until, of course, you find yourself in a situation with poor or no network connection and in desperate need of the app. Starting today, however, Google is launching a major revamp of its offline Maps feature, adding support not only for search, but for turn-by-turn driving directions as well.

Downloading the map for an area is incredibly simple. Users can select an area by specifying a zip code, city, state, or even just dropping a pin. From there, they can tap the "Download" button, and refine how small or large an area they want, from something like a single neighborhood all the way up to something around half the size of Washington State.

Once the map of an area has been saved to a device, Google Maps will function exactly the same whether it's online or off, with difference in features or abilities. Users can search for destination, lookup information on businesses, and get driving directions. Even better for those who frequent a certain area and choose to download its map, the app will automatically transition between online and offline modes when a network connection gets weak.

Google says the new offline features are rolling out today for the Android version of Google Maps. The new advancements are still being developed for the iOS version, however it is still capable of downloading the same basic offline maps as before.