Google scrambles to restore offline Google Maps storage

It's handy to cache maps when you know you'll be headed into an area with bad network coverage. Google has tweaked its new Google Maps for Android app to make the feature easier to use.

Stephen Shankland Former Principal Writer
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Google Maps caching confirmation
Confirmation that a map is saved for offline use in the new Google Maps on Android. Screenshot by Nicole Cozma/CNET
Tapping on a map in Google Maps for Android, then scrolling to the bottom of the screen, will reveal an option to cache the map for offline.
Tapping on a map in Google Maps for Android, then scrolling to the bottom of the screen, will reveal an option to cache the map for offline. screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET

A day after users complained that the overhauled Google Maps app for Android made it hard to store maps for later use offline, Google has updated its app to try to fix the problem.

Caching maps on a device is useful when traveling to areas where the network connection is bad or where high roaming fees discourage mobile network use. But the new Google Maps app had required a laborious and obscure method to cache maps.

Now it's not so hard. Users can tap on the map to display a screen to search or explore an area, and scrolling down to the bottom of that page reveals a small card that says, "Make this map area available offline."

"We know some of you are missing an easy way to access maps offline. That's why our engineering team has been working around the clock to add a 'Make this map area available offline' card below the search box for easier access," Google said on Google+ Thursday of the hasty move to make the feature easier to use.

The update is arriving now, Google said. It also includes a link explaining what happened to Google Latitude, which is Google is retiring.

For some pointers on the new software, check CNET's tips for using the new Google Maps.

Watch this: Make offline maps in Google Maps 7