If your Android is set to auto-update your apps, you might have missed the new version of Google Maps. With it come two primary new features: indoor maps and a new UI.
Similar to the newly announced UI changes to Google properties, Google Maps now has a new navigation menu giving quick, one-touch access to Google Places, Check-in, Latitude and other features. Previously these features were available by selecting the “more” option after pressing the Menu button on your device. This new menu has a slight hint of Honeycomb and may possibly be a peak at some of new UI choices presented in future versions of Android.
The more noticeable feature, however, is the new indoor maps. Bing Maps has offering indoor mall maps for the past year, the feature was initially only available in a desktop browser until August when Bing’s indoor maps went mobile. Bing also introduced airport maps in September.
Not to be outdone, Google Maps has added malls, airports, and many other locations. These indoor maps are available by simply pinch-zooming in your Google Maps mobile app.
Buildings with multiple levels have icons indicating which level’s floor plan you would like the map to show. If your GPS is on, the familiar blue dot will show your location for easy navigation within the building.
Here’s a screen captures from Google Maps before and after the indoor maps option for both Mall of America…
And the San Francisco International Airport
To start, Google has hit up some of the largest retailers, airports and other transit stations in both the United States and Japan. Google offers a list of indoor map locations in their help area. If you want add your floor plan to be mapped out too, Google even provides a simple four-step process to make it happen.
Google has also created an interactive tutorial and walkthrough of the new Google Maps features.
What are your thoughts on the new features? Will you submit your organization’s blueprints to be indexed by Google for the world to see? Let us know and share your comments below.