Google Maps app for Android adds indoor floorplans

Users get access to internal maps of retail stores, malls, airports and other large venues

Disoriented at Minneapolis' Mall of America? Confused at Tokyo's Narita airport? Can't find the bathrooms at your local Ikea store? The Google Maps application for Android phones and tablets may offer some help.

The latest version of the application, released on Tuesday, now features floorplans of some large venues, a modest start to what Google hopes will eventually be a comprehensive collection of internal maps of large retail stores, malls, airports, transit stations and the like globally.

"This opens a new mapping frontier for mobile users: indoor public spaces," said Steve Lee, a Google director of product management.

Google Maps 6.0 for Android will also display with a blue dot the location of the user within the venue's floor plan, and will update the location as the person moves. The application will even refresh the map when users move to different floors within a building.

Maps will contain labels with store names, bathroom locations, ATM icons and airport gates, among other items. Google collaborated with the owners of the mapped venues in this first iteration of indoor maps. However, Google is making available a tool that any venue owner can use to upload floorplans for inclusion in the application's database at http://maps.google.com/floorplans.

The files don't have to be submitted in any specific format, according to Lee. Google will take blueprints, CAD drawings and even snapshots of floorplans. Obviously, the more detailed the floorplan, the better. It's free to upload floorplans for the application. The upload tool at launch will be in beta, or test, mode, so users may experience some "wrinkles" with it at first, Lee said.

The indoor maps feature doesn't broadcast offers or coupons from stores in the venues. The application also doesn't display any ads.

In tests, Google hasn't found dropped cellular signals inside buildings to be a significant problem, but the application has an existing feature that lets it cache and store maps locally on devices for when they're disconnected from the Internet, he said.

Google Maps 6.0 for Android will work on devices with version 2.1 and higher of the mobile operating system. At launch, the application includes floorplans for Tokyo's Narita and 17 U.S. airports, including Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, San Francisco International Airport and George Bush Houston International Airport; stores of the retail chains Macy's, Bloomingdales, Home Depot and Ikea; and malls including Mall of America, Times Square Mall in Mt. Vernon, Illinois, and Liberty Fair Mall in Martinsville, Virginia.

Juan Carlos Perez covers search, social media, online advertising, e-commerce, web application development, enterprise cloud collaboration suites and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Juan on Twitter at @JuanCPerezIDG.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Internet-based applications and services3gtelecommunicationGoogleMaps

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Juan Carlos Perez

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?