Google is rolling out an update to the Google app for Android. This update means you can now queue web searches even when you’re offline. The idea is to enable people with spotty network coverage to still use Google all day, every day, regardless of their network coverage.
Before this update, if you tried to search the web using the Google app, you would need to be connected to the internet. Now, if you’re not connected to the internet at the time, the Google app will retain any information you have inputted until it’s able to complete the request.
When you search for something using the Google app while offline you’ll now see, “Offline: No network available. You’ll be notified when results are ready.” You can, of course, opt to turn notifications off and simply check the Google app when you’re connected to the internet again.
As Shekhar Sharad, Product Manager for Google Search explains in a blog post:
“So the next time you lose service, feel free to queue up your searches, put your phone away and carry on your day. The Google app will work behind-the-scenes to detect when a connection is available again and deliver your search results once completed.”
A Simple-Yet-Effective Fix
This is a simple-yet-effective way of making the Google app more useful to those with spotty internet connections. Which is, by and large, a problem for people in developing countries where the infrastructure isn’t yet able to cope with the demands being placed on it.
Android is by far the dominant operating system in developing countries. Which explains why Google is rolling this update out exclusively on Android (at least for now). There’s no word yet on this feature making it into the Google app for iOS, but we suspect it’s only a matter of time.
You can gain access to this feature by updating the Google app on Android to the latest version. And in case you’re worried that this feature will cause more problems than it solves, Google maintains it “won’t drain your battery” and “minimally impacts data usage”.
Do you use the Google app for Android? Will you find this queuing capability useful? Do you often find yourself without a stable internet connection? Should Google do more to help users in developing countries? Please let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
Image Credit: Frankieleon via Flickr