Google has updated its Google Maps mobile app for Android with the launch of indoor maps, allowing users to view their location inside shopping centres, airports and retail stores.
The app shows users where they are in a particular building, including the floor they are situated on. If the user is in an airport, for example, they can locate their gate, baggage claim, etc.
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Brian McClendon, vice president of engineering for Google Earth and Maps, says consumers typically figure out where they are by looking at a map directory or asking an employee for help.
“With the release of Google Maps 6.0 for Android, that directory is brought to the palm of your hand, helping you determine where you are… and where to go,” McClendon wrote in a blog.
“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.”
“All this is achieved by using an approach similar to that of ‘My Location’ for outdoor spaces, but fine-tuned for indoors.”
Google has already launched the feature with various partners in the United States, including major retailers such as Ikea, but it’s unknown if and when it will do the same in Australia.
It’s also unknown whether the indoor maps feature will be added to Google’s iOS Maps app.
This is not the first time Google has taken its mapping technology indoors. In May, it announced plans for 360-degree Business Photos.
This program sends Google photographers to various businesses to take professional photos for their Places Page.
Meanwhile, it’s been reported fellow tech giant Microsoft is planning to debut an iPad version of its Office productivity software next year.
It’s believed it would be a stripped-down version, more in line with Microsoft’s mobile apps than its desktop ones. The price would likely be similar to that of Apple’s productivity apps.
Microsoft hasn’t commented directly on the report, which appeared in The Daily, issuing a vague statement about its plans.
“We already deliver Office on multiple platforms and devices, and are committed to expanding in the future, but have nothing further to share today,” the company said in a statement.
Microsoft already offers a handful of apps for both the iPad and the iPhone, including Bing and Windows Live Messenger.
It is also busily working on Windows 8 – the next version of its flagship operating system – for tablet computers.
However, the company has yet to disclose details about a touch version of Office that will run on those devices.