Google Maps just got a huge update. We're now up to 6.0, and tackling the final frontier of mapping. Google is no longer content to just drop you off at the door. Maps will now include *indoor* mapping and positioning in stores, malls, and airports. Wow.

Check out this before and after shot of the Mall of America:


How cool is that? You can now see where everything is located, and switch between floors. You aren't going to get a GPS lock indoors, so the positioning is approximate. They do say they've tweaked the positioning algorithm to help with that, though.

Of course, not everywhere has indoor mapping yet. Here's the initial list of locations:

We’ve initially partnered with some of the largest retailers, airports and transit stations in the U.S. and Japan, including:

  • Mall of America, IKEA, The Home Depot, select Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s, Daimaru, Taskashimaya and Mitsukoshi locations and more. Watch an IKEA demo here.
  • Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), Chicago O’Hare (ORD), San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and Narita International (NRT), among others.
  • JR and Tokyu Corporation

Did you think we were done? We're not done. Here's the full list of changes:

    1. Indoor maps (beta) are now available for select airports, shopping malls, and more. Learn more at g.co/indoormaps
    2. Menu added to the top toolbar for easy switching between common features.
    3. Updated home screen for Places, now with popular searches based on your location.
    4. Option to disable automatic screen dimming for Navigation.

screenshot-1322590055500 screenshot-1322590363729

The toolbar and places got an overhaul too! This is a picture of it in Gingerbread. ICS will look a little different. This is a very welcome change, Maps was getting huge and navigating it was getting a little unwieldy.

Places looks less like a "my first Android app" and more like a useful tool. You can have it detect your location or enter one manually and it will show you local business types in your area.

Source: The Official Google Blog

Ron Amadeo
Ron loves everything related to technology, design, and Google. He always wants to talk about "the big picture" and what's next for Android, and he's not afraid to get knee-deep in an APK for some details. Expect a good eye for detail, lots of research, and some lamenting about how something isn't designed well enough.
  • http://emd2009.tumblr.com emd2009

    I can't find the option to disable automatic screen dimming for Navigation.

    • Warren

      Start navigating and then look under the menu (while navigating) the option will appear.

    • Barton

      Menu -> More -> Settings -> Screen Dimming.

  • Rob

    That's actually a company called Bubba Gump Shrimp?!

    • gmquinto

      It's a restaurant. As far as I know they are in most major cities around the U.S.

  • marky mark

    im still waiting for google to let me get rid of the latitude, navigation, and places icons from my app drawer.

  • Sebastian

    Why are Maps and places in ICS style but not the navigation...?!

    • Ron Amadeo

      I know. EVERY core Google App got an ICS revamp except for Navigation. It's like they forgot.

  • DM|ZE

    Did they bring back navigation volume yet? I can't stand that they made the navigation go through the media volume. It really sucks when you are listening to music and the navigation talks over the music, it makes it really hard to hear the directions.

  • Calum

    Google Maps really is turning into a bloated POC. I've long since stopped updating it, when they stopped focusing on what they should be doing -- providing the best possible road maps.

    • Timothy

      That's right - Calum knows better than Google when it comes to innovation *snort*

      These new indoor maps sound awesome, can't wait to try these out in Japan next time we're visiting our in laws (maybe I'll stop getting lost when friends say 'meet us at such & such a station!').

    • Ron Amadeo

      They DO provide the best possible road maps, but that's a server side upgrade, so you don't hear about it. The app only updates for user features.

      Maps data is constantly updated, it's even crowdsourced now.


      And how is adding more mapping areas to Google MAPS "bloat"?

  • John

    But...........what happened to the no data connection navigation Google promised for "late summer"???? Toolbar is nice, mall map is a waste of time!

    • Nocturnhabeo

      you do realize you would have to cache a lot of data to do that and most people don't want maps eating up gigs of info just in case they need to look at something underground.

  • [deXter]

    Two places where this feature would be *really* useful: Dubai Mall and Changi Airport (Singapore). They are so freaking huge it's very, very easy to get lost (or waste a ton of time) in there!

    • Nocturnhabeo

      I can think of many airports that I would like this in. Also major malls that are several city blocks...

  • Pawnty

    Definitely need the West Edmonton Mall (Alberta) on there.... it is the largest mall in North America after all. spent hours lost in there over the summer XD

  • http://stuarthalliday.com Stuart Halliday

    So how long till we in the UK get at least one location?

  • ChumbleSpuzz

    Pretty small list of indoor maps. Perhaps el Goog should purchase Point Inside and integrate their maps. Been using it for airport maps for some time now.

  • BB

    I can no longer share my location after the update. It says "this feature is currently not available. Please try again later." :(