Google Maps is an indispensable tool for Android (and iOS) users, and it just received some very useful updates. The app now warns users when there are huge mass transit delays and offers the option to restrict data usage to only Wi-Fi. The new features are currently only available on select phones and will be launched in staged rollouts.
In order to activate the Wi-Fi feature, go to your Settings on Google Maps. It should be the second line under settings. If you are one of the few that has access to the new feature, the line will read “Wi-Fi only”. If not, the line will read “Offline areas”.
Google Maps first introduced “Offline areas” in November 2015. Up until that point, user had been able to view maps offline, however, this marked the first time users could receive turn-by-turn directions without connectivity. Google Maps also automatically detected when users were in an area without data and switched automatically to offline mode.
“Wi-Fi only” and “Offline areas” function in a very similar manner. For both, you will need to download the map to your destination before going offline or to an area where you can only use data. A little warning for “Wi-Fi only” users will popup that cautions that the app may still use a “small amount” of data.
The second new feature will warn users if there are mass transit delays. Users can subscribe to alerts for multiple lines. The alerts will then inform users if their commute is experiencing “normal service”, “modified service”, or “significant delays”. This type of feature will help users to change their usual commute if necessary.
In November, Google Maps also worked to improve the information it obtained on various locations. Users could sign up for “Local Guides” and add reviews and pictures for restaurants, tourist destinations, and other locations. Users earned points and once they reached Level 4, were granted 1GB of free Google Drive storage.