Google Maps profile

The lightweight Google Maps Go client made for Android Go-powered devices has now surpassed the 500 million download milestone on the Play Store.

Android Go is an effort to provide emerging markets with a mobile OS tailored or at least better suited to modest smartphone hardware. Apps like Google Maps Go provide a slimmed-down experience without having to download a large app.

Because the app size is smaller you don’t need tons of under-the-hood grunt or system resources, or even a solid network connection to get it to run effectively. Google Maps Go can be used on any device if you want to try it out for yourself.

Effectively, Maps Go is a Progressive Web App, so it just runs an instance of a Chrome browser window. With that in mind, the experience may feel very basic compared to the Google Maps you’re probably used to. It also means that Google Chrome is needed to use it.

Google claims that Maps Go is up to 100 times smaller than the full-fat Android app. As we have noted, a PWA approach means it should run better if you have a limited device or unreliable network connection.

To help slim the app file even further, navigation is not available and requires a separate Navigation for Google Maps Go add-on to be downloaded. For those with an Android Go device, both apps will be pre-installed. If the 500 million download figure is any metric, there are a ton of devices out there in the wild.

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Damien Wilde

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