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(Pocket-lint) - Google Maps, until now, has offered very basic offline maps but never full support. Today that changes.

At last Google has announced that its Map software will now deeply support offline map viewing, search and navigation.

Previously it was possible to save a section of map for offline viewing, but it wasn't very functional or far spreading. Now you'll be able to select an area to save for offline and it'll live locally meaning even without internet you can keep searching for local things and following navigation.

Google says that while the user won't see the difference between online and offline in the front, it will be working hard in the back. The app will favour online mode, to get the most up to date information like live traffic or shop hours of operation, but will continue navigating seamlessly in offline mode if connection is lost.

Google says downloading is as simple as searching for a city, county or country and tapping "Download" on the resulting place sheet.

Google Maps with offline mode will initially only be available on Android as it begins to roll out from today. But it will also arrive on iOS devices in the future, Google says it's "coming soon".

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Writing by Luke Edwards. Originally published on 10 November 2015.