Google Maps is an amazing feat of technology that makes finding where you need to go easy and anxiety-free. It's a GPS in your pocket, a get-out-jail free card if you get lost and a safety cushion for drivers and travelers everywhere.

That is, unless you lose your Internet connection ... Then, you are on your own, as Google Maps depends on the Internet for many of its functions. If you live in a country or region without constant Internet access, that makes using Google Maps a little difficult.

Google is looking to change that later this year. During the company's I/O keynote, in a segment focused on how Google is helping usher in the next billion smartphone users, it was revealed that later this year, Google Maps will be usable offline. It will also allow users to get voice commands to their destination, all without an Internet connection.

For those who live in rural areas where having an Internet connection isn't always a possibility, this goes a long way toward making Google Maps way more useful.

Using Google Maps offline isn't completely new, but it looks like the company is making it much less painful. Previously, if you wanted to use Google Maps offline, you were forced to save maps of select regions, which would then be saved in the app's "My Places" tab. These maps took up space, however, and would only be saved to the app for 30 days.

That sounds like it will no longer be the case, though specifics weren't mentioned during the keynote. If Google is truly looking to help improve the quality of life for the billions of new smartphone owners worldwide, the ability to browse Google Maps offline without having to save maps for specific areas, as well as the ability to get voice directions while offline, will go a long way toward making the world just a bit more navigable. 

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