Don’t get me wrong, I like the IDEA of offline maps in Google! There are loads of times that you will want to use maps functionality when you aren’t connected to the internet. What bothers me is that Google gives you the ability to create offline maps, and then makes it impossible to use them when you are offline.
Here is an example. I created an offline map on my Android smart phone for a rink in a small town near me. Here it is.
What you see here is the offline map area I had previously saved and the fact that it doesn’t expire for at least a month. You also see that, because I was not connected when I opened to see the map, I was only given the option of deleting the offline area or updating it. No option to actually use it.
If you select “cancel”, the map is not available and if you select “Update” what you will get looks like the second screenshot below.
Here, you can see that you can either cancel the request to use the map (and do nothing) or try to connect again. If I am still not in an area where you can connect there will be no using of the map.
This is obviously not what the designers were going for, but that is what they got…and it is absolutely useless.
OK, then why whine about it here. Well, say that you decide to give Google feedback on the app. How do you go about that? Google doesn’t have a support email account that you could send an email to with the screenshots attached. They do have a nifty little “Send feedback” option in the settings area of the app, and it even has an “include screenshot” function, but here is the kicker, you have to close the error message to get to the send feedback function, and the screenshot that is attached is the window without the error message. Not very useful.
I applaud Google’s attempts to work offline, but they really didn’t do enough testing on this feature. There are a lot of us that don’t have data plans that are big enough to support on-line access in remote locations.
In my opinion, Google’s developers need to go back to the drawing board and redo their “state diagrams” to explore what state the mobile device is in when the maps are likely to be used and work with them there.
What do you think?