Google is on a roll today. In addition to introducing the latest version of Android, Jelly Bean, the company has updated some of its services to add new features. Maps is one example, with the Android version of the app seeing an update that will let users save maps offline to their devices. The update has gone live on the Play Store, with version 6.9 supporting a customizable map area that can be saved offline.
Users need only pan the map around or search for their required city to decide what they want to save offline, with Maps pulling down all the necessary information. We took it for a quick spin by downloading the entire city of London, squeezed into just 35MB. Having said that, it does seem to be a bit of a mixed bag right now: we’ve tested several offline attempts of London, with road names and landmarks sometimes being left out and then appearing on other downloads. Offline maps really isn’t all that much fun when half the road names are missing. We’ll chalk it up to technical issues for now; the feature did just go live, after all.
YouTube has also seen an update today which adds a couple of new options. The first is a new sidebar that gives you quick access to your account as well as trending topics. The second is a pre-caching feature. Any videos that you’ve saved to a Watch Later list or subscription can be downloaded over WiFi when the device is charging or plugged in via USB. The idea is that users will still be able watch the content over slow cellular networks, but it does require some management. Both the Maps and YouTube updates are live now on the Play Store.