Google Maps and YouTube will work offline for people in developing countries

Google Maps is about to get even more helpful, as the company prepares to take the navigation system offline. Google Maps won’t even require a data connection to operate. Google VP for Engineering and Product Management, Jen Fitzpatrick, revealed the news on stage during the keynote presentation at Google I/O 2015, along with a host of changes to Android, which make the OS more accessible for people using phones in developing markets.

She said the company is “working hard” to deliver the Google Maps experience offline, and showed it won’t be a simple, static map you’ll see either — it’ll be the whole thing. Demonstrating the system on a phone with Airplane Mode activated, the search bar still brings up results, and autocomplete works just as it does with a data connection.

When you find the location you want, the information screen will deliver reviews and opening times, ensuring the essential information is still there. It gets better, because Google will make its turn-by-turn navigation work offline. Travelers will love to have this very helpful feature available without eating up any data while abroad. However, it’s even more important to people living in places where local data plans are very expensive, or the coverage is unstable.

Google Maps Offline SupportGoogle highlighted six international markets where the majority of smartphone growth will occur over the coming years — including Brazil, China, Indonesia, and India — and discussed other ways Android is changing to help make using a smartphone easier, faster, more convenient, and perhaps most importantly, cheaper for everyone.

For example, YouTube Offline makes videos available to watch without a connection for 48-hours, while Google Search adapts to remove images and replace them with colored placeholders to save on data, and shrinks down text to make pages load faster. All this is made possible by something called the Network Quality Estimator, which examines the strength of a connection, to make sure the phone performs at its best. Using these methods, Google says Web pages load four times faster, use 80-percent fewer bytes, and an 80MB reduction in memory use.

Going back to Google Maps, the offline mode is expected to launch later this year, but Google hasn’t confirmed whether it will be exclusive to certain territories — like YouTube Offline — or if it’ll be available for all. We’ll keep you updated.


The stand-alone Palm is available for purchase and still costs $350

A reboot of the classic Palm is finally here and it's tiny. It syncs to your phone and acts as a secondary device -- with a feature to help you disconnect from technology. The Palm will be available exclusively through Verizon for $350.

What is Android Auto? Pull over and we'll tell you everything you need to know

What is Android Auto? Google's app overrides native infotainment systems to reduce distractions while driving. Here's everything you need to know about it, including the feature set and compatible car models.

What is Apple CarPlay? Here's all you need to know about iOS in your dashboard

CarPlay is one of two major infotainment systems currently vying for your car's dash. Here's everything you need to know about the system, including its feature set and host of third-party apps.

You can now share Google Search results straight from the app

Google wants to make it a little easier to share search results with others and added a "Share" button to the Android Google app. Currently, the feature is only in the beta version of the app.

Sandmarc crams cinematic video flare into a tiny iPhone anamorphic lens

Looking for some unique flare for your iPhone videos? The Sandmarc iPhone Anamorphic lens captures a wider aspect ratio, oval bokeh, and horizontal flare. The new iPhone lens, designed for video, uses a clip or case-style attachment.

Want a PC you can reach out and touch? These are the best touchscreen laptops

The best touchscreen laptops aren't locked to 2-in-1s and convertibles, but include clamshell designs too. We pick the best touchscreen clamshells you can find in 2018, ranging from Windows 10 PCs to Chromebooks.

The 2019 class of camera phones is great, and we tested them to find the best

It's the middle of the year, which means it's time for a mid-year camera shootout to find the best among our top phones of 2019. We pit six phones against each other, including the OnePlus 7 Pro, Pixel 3a, and Galaxy S10 Plus.

Ebook readers are more than just Kindles. Here are all the best options

If you're a bookworm, an ebook reader can be an important part of your life, one that allows you to read your books whenever and wherever you like. But which should you get? Here are the best ebook readers available.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Tesla Special Edition turns out to be a beautiful dream

The Samsung Galaxy Note 10 may not be far away now, but there are still surprises in store. One that will not happen is a team-up with Tesla. A post on Weibo referenced what turns out to be an imaginative high-concept render by a YouTuber.

Crowdsourced interactive mapping app Waze gives you the lowdown on traffic

Waze is a free, ad-supported interactive navigation app with benefits. It calculates routes using social media crowdsourcing to alert you to current traffic conditions. Wazers act as the road's eyes and ears to alert other travelers.

FedEx mistakenly rejects shipment of a Huawei phone to the U.S.

There has been confusion about what exactly the placement of Huawei on the U.S. Entity List means for private customers. Recently a tech writer who tried to ship a Huawei phone to the U.S. was surprised when the phone was returned to him.

From true crime to comedy, here's our list of the best podcasts around

When you aren’t in the music mood, podcasts can be your ear candy. Whether you love to stay up-to-date on the latest news or want to know what’s happening in sports, you’ll find something on our must-listen-to podcast roundup.
Movies & TV

Netflix hack day project adds phone vibrations to every on-screen explosion

One of the highlights of the most recent Netflix hack day is Project Rumble Pak, which adds vibrations to the streaming service's smartphone app. The project seeks to improve the viewing experience by synchronizing haptics to content.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Illuminated keyboards and a retro gaming console

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!