Google Maps just went indoors. Starting with Google Maps 6.0 for Android, users of Google Maps can now navigate inside of mapped locations such as airports, malls and IKEA stores. The program launches with selected partners, and any business owner can apply to have a floor plan included.
This is a key move for Google’s mobile business, which up until now could only take you to the front door of the place for which you were searching. Google Maps on the desktop recently got 3D photo tours of small locations, an extension of Street View, but this is a bigger step. When Google Maps goes inside, Google can take you all the way from searching for something to holding it in your hand, advertising and data-gathering all the way.
Google Maps for Android is fantastic. Between its free GPS Navigation feature, speedy downloads thanks to vector-based maps, and offline caching, the app is leagues ahead of the Maps app on iOS. And it keeps getting better.
Today, Maps for Android is getting upgraded to version 6.0, and it includes a long-anticipated feature that presents a huge technical challenge: indoor maps. Yes, you’ll now be able to fire up Maps in some malls, airports, and department stores to get your bearings, complete that ‘little blue dot’ that shows you where you are. You’ll be able to download the app from Android Market right here.