Google Maps Goes Indoors (on Android)

Google Maps for Android now features indoor maps for a select number of malls, airports and train stations around the U.S. and Japan. Until now, indoor mapping was the domain of specialized apps and Micorosoft’s Bing Maps. Starting today, Google Maps for Android users will be able to see detailed indoor maps of places like San Francisco International Airport, the Mall of America in Minnesota and Japan Rail’s train stations.

Google Maps indoors

To see these maps, Android users just have to zoom in to a building and the indoor maps will automatically appear. For buildings with multiple floors, users will also have the option to change to the floor they are on.

After launching its indoor Street View initiative, this is Google’s second major foray into indoor mapping. It’s not clear that Google would try to actively monetize these new features, but it’s easy to imagine an indoor map that highlights deals or discounts in a mall, for example.

Google is actively recruiting business owners who would like their location’s floor plans included in Google Maps.

It’s not clear when Google plans to bring this feature to other platforms as well. Indeed, it’s somewhat surprising that Google isn’t exposing these maps on the Web already.

Here is a partial list of some of the buildings where the new indoor maps have already been enable: [list]

  • 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 [/list]