Google’s lightweight Maps Go app is built for low-end Android devices

google maps go header
It’s been roughly a week since Google announced the launch of Android Go — a pared-down version of Android 8.1 Oreo, designed to run on lower-end devices packing between 1GB and 512MB of RAM. Mostly useful in developing markets like Brazil and India, Android Go is focused on reducing the install size of the operating system to less than half of that of Android 7.0 Nougat, and ensuring that essential services can run on a device with significantly less power than most smartphones running Android 8.0 Oreo.

A big part of this drive is the creation of a number of smaller, “Go-style” Google apps, made to work on lower-end hardware. Essentially pared-down versions of existing Google apps, Google also announced that we should expect more compact versions of Google Maps, YouTube, Google Assistant, and Gmail. Files Go, a slim-line file managing app has already been launched, as has a lightweight search app, Google Go, and now low-end users can access a lightweight maps app with Google Maps Go on the Google Play Store. Google Maps Go gives users the ability to see their location, get directions to a place via car, train or bus, or by walking, and even allows users to add filters to their map to see satellite imagery, public transport, or an overlay of the current traffic.

google maps go vs google maps
A comparison between Google Maps Go (left) and Google Maps (right) on the Galaxy S8

The app will only be downloadable for a specific subset of Android smartphones; any device that has less than 1GB of RAM, and is running Android 4.1 or newer. It’s a very specific band of users, and unlike the implementation of Files Go, which was made available as a general file managing app for any Android smartphone.

Key to the low impact of the app is that it’s not really an app at all — the app icon is a link to a Progressive Web App (PWA) version of Google Maps (as noted by Android Police). PWAs allow users to access apps without downloading them, and this means that they’re extremely low-impact on a device’s resources. It also means you can try out the app for yourself without needing a compatible phone. Simply access this link on your phone or PC, and you should be able to access Google Map Go — it may try to send you to your normal Google Maps app, but you can circumvent that by holding the link and opening it in a new tab.


Google Pixel 4 XL: Is this sketch our first look?

The Google Pixel 3 may still be a relatively new device, but already rumors and leaks have started emerging about the Google Pixel 4. Notably, it seems as though Google could add better support for dual SIM cards on the device.

Tired of choosing between Windows and Mac? Check out these Chromebooks instead

We've compiled a list of the best Chromebooks -- laptops that combine great battery life, comfortable keyboards, and the performance it takes to run Google's lightweight Chrome OS. From Samsung to Acer, these are the Chromebooks that really…

Here are our favorite features in Google’s first Android Q beta

Google has released the first beta for Android Q, and with it a number of great new features -- including faster sharing, better control over permissions like location, and more. Here are our top five favorite new features in Android Q.

T-Mobile, unlocked Galaxy Note 9 phones finally getting Android Pie update

Android 9.0 Pie has been released. But is your phone getting Android 9.0 Pie, and if so, when? We've done the hard work and asked every device manufacturer to see when their devices would be getting the update.

Sony's Xperia 10 smartphone boasts a 6-inch screen and is now available

Sony took the wraps off of three new phones at Mobile World Congress 2019, including the new Xperia 1, which is the company's new flagship phone and the first with a 4K OLED display with a 21:9 aspect ratio.

FCC to help first responders pinpoint 911 callers in multistory buildings

When someone calls 911 from their cell phone, wireless carriers provide operators with an approximate location. Now the FCC wants the carriers to provide vertical location data to pinpoint 911 callers inside multi-story buildings.

Latest Samsung Galaxy smartphone will pop up on April 10

Samsung will show at least one new Galaxy phone off on April 10, it has confirmed in a teaser tweet. The Galaxy A90 may make its first appearance, and it's rumored to have a pop-up camera and a notch-less screen.

Leaked ZTE concept phones are crazy, possibly fake, and totally worth seeing

Renders of what may be ZTE concept phones may show how the manufacturer could avoid using the notch on future devices. They're crazy -- and maybe not even real -- but they're definitely worth looking at.

The iPad Mini, Apple’s tiny tablet, makes a return with powerful specs

Apple has finally revealed the iPad Mini. With all-new and upgraded specs, support for the Apple Pencil, and a fantastically inclusive price, here's everything you need to know about the iPad Mini.

The Apple iPad Air is the power-packed tablet for everyone

The iPad Air is the less serious cousin to Apple's iPad Pro range, and it's the perfect addition to your coffee table. But it's no less powerful. Here's everything you need to know about the iPad Air.

Get excited for your Sony Xperia 10 or 10 Plus by getting it set up just right

If you've picked up one of the Sony's more affordable smartphones, you may be be wondering what hidden depths lie within. We've got some handy Sony Xperia 10 tips for you here to help you get to grips with your new phone.

This is the one thing you need to do before giving your child a smart phone or tablet

Monitoring your kids' digital habits can be a challenge in today’s high-tech age, but great parental control software like Qustodio gives parents a much-needed advantage Read on to find out how you can protect your child from online…

How to choose an iPad in 2019: A practical guide to Apple’s tablets

Selecting an iPad from Apple's lineup can be intimidating, but it doesn't have to be. Our comprehensive guide should put the numbers and specs in practical, easy-to-understand terms. Find your ideal iPad with the help of our guide.

These voice-changing apps will have you punking friends and family like a pro

Have you ever wanted to call your friends as Darth Vader or Alvin from the Chipmunks? If you want to play a prank on your friends, we have the best voice-changer apps for iOS and Android, whether you want to record audio or make a call.