Google unveils offline mode for Google Maps

Google says its maps application for mobile can work even without an Internet connection.

Google is taking maps offline for Android users

Google unveiled an offline version of its Google Maps application, allowing phones to run the program without an Internet connection.

The offline mode would be coming to Android shortly, according to Rita Chen, product manager of Google Maps for mobile.

The introduction of the new mapping service comes just as Apple is widely expected to drop Google's mapping application from iOS in favor of its own proprietary version. Maps is emerging as the next major battleground for technology companies, with services, recommendations, and advertisements built around location.

The service would work whether the phone was abroad and without access to a network, or in a subway station with no reception, Chen said. Despite the lack of a connection, a device with GPS would still allow a blue dot to track the location on the map. Likewise, the compass would also work if the device has the feature enabled.

The moves are part of a broader battle between Google and Apple over the ownership of mobile customers.

Apple is expected to drop Google Maps from iOS as soon as next week, when it holds its Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco. Google Maps has been a core part of the iPhone since its debut in 2007.

Maps mean big business for both Google and Apple. A large chunk of mobile revenue comes from ads that are related to its map services, such as recommendations based on location and local searches.

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