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November 29, 2011

Google Maps for Androids heads indoors

Google has partnered with large retailers, airports and transit stations to launch the feature

By CBR Staff Writer

Google upgraded Google Maps for Android to let smartphone and tablet users in the United States and Japan.

The search engine company has partnered with large retailers, airports and transit stations to launch the feature. It said it planned to continually add new floorplans of public buildings around the world.

Google Earth and Maps vice president of engineering Brian McClendon said in a blog post that 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.

He adds, "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."

Google Maps for Android also uses the Android phone’s location detection capabilities, which tap GPS, cell towers and WiFi hubs for data and communicate it to Google’s location servers, automatically updating the map layout as users move up or down a level in a building with multiple floors, it is reported.

Organisations participating in the indoor mapping app include Mall of America in Minneapolis and retailers Ikea, The Home Depot, Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s in the US. In Japan, they include Daimaru, Takashimaya and Mitsukoshi locations and others.

Airports involved with the new programme include San Francisco International Airport, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Chicago’s O’Hare, Narita International in Japan, among others.

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