Google announced it is adding some features to its mapping apps: Google Maps is acquiring the ability to use some of the features of this service without an Internet connection, while Google Earth is getting a 3D mode.
According to Rita Chen, the product manager of the mobile version of Google Maps, smartphone users will soon be able to download maps that they can use to keep track of their location. This can be useful when roaming outside of one’s cellular-wireless network, or in a place with poor signal. However, creating new routes to places will apparently have to wait until the Maps app has a wireless connection again.
Chen did not say when this feature will be available, but she did say it’s coming to devices running Android OS first.
Google Earth’s product manager, Peter Birch, said that planes flying over U.S. cities have taken pictures that have been turned into 3D images. “It creates the illusion you’re flying over the city,” said Birch.
He said this feature will be released for both Android and iOS smartphones and tablets in the coming weeks. Birch also said it will be available for “major cities” but didn’t get more specific.