Google Maps has been helping people find the nearest train station or Starbucks for several years. Now, it can help you find the nearest restroom at an airport or the men's department at Macy's, Google announced Tuesday.
For now, Google Maps 6.0 has only been added to Android phones, not for iPhone or Blackberry users. It uses floor plans Google gets directly from the owners of the various buildings they are providing information for.
When you're inside an airport, shopping mall or retail store, a common way to figure out where you are is to look for a freestanding map directory or ask an employee for help, Google said on their blog. Starting today, with the release of Google Maps 6.0 for Android, that directory is brought to the palm of your hands, helping you determine where you are, what floor you're on, and where to go indoors.
Not all major airports and stores are available at the product's launch.
The first airports to get the Google treatment include 18 U.S. airports such as the Atlanta International Airport, Chicago O'Hare Airport and the San Francisco International Airport. Also included are the Mall of America in Minneapolis, and some IKEA and Macy's and Bloomingdale's stores.
Funtionally, the new system--which is still in Beta- will work much like the outdoor version of Google Maps.
Detailed floor plans automatically appear when you're viewing the map and zoomed in on a building where indoor map data is available, the blog said. The familiar blue dot icon indicates your location within several meters, and when you move up or down a level in a building with multiple floors, the interface will automatically update to display which floor you're on. All this is achieved by using an approach similar to that of 'My Location' for outdoor spaces, but fine tuned for indoors.
New indoor spaces will be added and listed at Google's help center. Business owners can even reach out to Google to get their building's floor plan added.