Arab Times

Updated Google Maps provides offline option

Netflix hit by outage


NEW YORK, Nov 11, (Agencies): Google Maps is getting disconnect­ed.

With an update for Android phones Tuesday, you’ll be able to search nearby businesses and get driving directions, including turnby-turn voice prompts, even if your Internet connection is spotty or nonexisten­t. Google says a version for iPhones will come soon.

The feature is ideal if you’re trying to leave an undergroun­d parking garage or a remote national park. It’s also great if you’re travelling abroad and want to conserve on expensive data plans. Google is also targeting users in emerging markets, where cellular speeds are slower and prices are higher relative to typical incomes.

Mapping apps included with Windows phones have long had this feature, but Windows has a tiny market share compared with iPhones and Android. Offline mapping is also available with some third-party apps, including Nokia’s Here.

Limited Google Maps has had a limited offline feature. It lets you save a small region ahead of time, but it’s the equivalent of displaying a paper map in a phone app. You can’t use it for navigation and other tasks we’ve come to expect in digital maps.

With the new version, you’ll be able to do most of what you can do now.

You’ll need to download databases ahead of time, preferably when you have a Wi-Fi connection. To do so, start by searching for a location, such as a city. Then pinch in or out to select what area you want to download. Larger areas will give you more flexibilit­y for navigation, but they also take up more storage. As you change your selection, you’re told how large the file is and how much storage on the phone you have left.

Once you download an area, Google will periodical­ly refresh the data with new businesses and road changes. By default, that’s done only when you’re on Wi-Fi.

What you won’t get with offline mapping is traffic informatio­n. Once you’re back online, Google Maps might suggest a detour if there’s unusual backup ahead. You also won’t get photos and user reviews for businesses. But you do get contact informatio­n, hours and an overall user rating.

For directions, the feature initially works only with driving. It’s not yet available for walking, biking or public transit — so you might still be stuck in subway stations.

An unexpected Netflix outage on Tuesday temporaril­y stymied unspecifie­d numbers of members trying to stream television shows in the United States, Mexico and Brazil.

Vexed users turned to Twitter, where a message posted by the California-based company in the early evening said it was aware of “streaming issues on some devices” and was working to fix the problems.

About an hour later, Netflix fired off a tweet saying the trouble had been resolved and thanking people for their patience.

Netflix did not reply to an AFP inquiry regarding the extent and cause of the outage.

Exchanges posted at customer support account @Netflixhel­ps indicated the trouble interfered with show streaming in Brazil and Mexico, as well as in the United States.

Apple CEO Tim Cook spoke to faculty and students at Bocconi University, Italy’s top business

school on Tuesday, his first speech to a European university.

Here are the highlights from what he said:

On Companies’ Responsibi­lity

“Now more than ever businesses are in a position to help societies solve their greatest problems. The responsibi­lity should not rest on government­s alone. Whether we are talking about climate change or equal rights, the challenges we face are simply too great for businesses to stand on the sidelines.”

On Climate Change


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