Google is today rolling out a major update to Google Maps for Android with perhaps the most intriguing feature of Version 6.0 being the highly-anticipated indoor maps of select malls, airports, and retailers. Google explains:
Detailed floor plans automatically appear when you’re viewing the map and zoomed in on a building where indoor map data is available. 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.
Google has partnered with handful of retailers in the US and Japan including the Mall of America, IKEA, Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, and The Home Depot. Business owners can contribute by uploading a floor plan of their building here, while users can view a full list of available indoor maps here. Google also posted before and after screenshots (below) of the Mall of America in Minneapolis after the new feature is applied and a video showing off how indoor maps can be used to navigate through an airport.
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Other features and fixes in the update include a new menu on the toolbar for accessing the most used features, a new homescreen for Places with “popular searches based on your location”, and the ability to disable automatic screen dimming during navigation.