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Technology & Innovation

Google Maps Web Site Now Contains Indoor Floor Plans

Previously found only on its Android app, the technology now enables browser-based searching of airports, shopping malls, museums, and other locations.

What’s the Latest Development?

Yesterday Google revealed an update to its browser-based Maps service that brings it in line with its Maps app for Android-based devices: Over 10,000 floor plans have been added, allowing users to see layouts for malls, conference centers, museums, and similar indoor locations. The floor plans are located in nine countries, including the US, where more than 20 airports and more than 30 museums are mentioned in a partial list found on Google’s Web site. Google has even provided functionality that lets institutions upload their own floor plans.

What’s the Big Idea?

Right now, the amount of detail in the browser version varies by building. This makes it slightly less advanced than its app sibling, which stands to reason considering that, at time of use, most people are going to be in the location for which they need a floor plan, and they’ll probably be carrying a smartphone. Unfortunately the app’s reliance on GPS, which isn’t always available or accurate indoors, makes the browser version somewhat more appealing, since locations can be studied ahead. For the efficient Black Friday shopper, this could be a major time- and stress-saver.

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