Google has just released its latest version of its Google Maps app for Android, bringing support for the mapping of indoor locations for the first time.
The indoor map feature of version 6.0 offers floor plans for major airports, shopping centers and other public spaces, allowing users to see exactly where they are within a building. The feature currently works only in the U.S. and Japan, as Google has established partnerships with locations such as the Mall of America, IKEA, the Home Depot and select Macy’s and Bloomingdales.
While the indoor maps don’t offer the turn-by-turn navigation of the outdoor maps from Google, the layouts do provide directions to the nearest bathroom, clothing shop or elevator, depending on your needs. The software uses the same set of data, including GPS, used for “My Location,” though it’s been optimized to detect movement along the z-axis, tracking users as they move up and down from one floor to another.
Google is also working on a self-service tool, which is currently in beta, that will allow business owners to upload floor plans directly to Maps. Though only a select number of airport and stores are currently available on Google Maps 6.0, the app is now available in the Android Market.