Plan your BLACK FRIDAY CHARGE: Google shop maps go desktop
Bags of smoke, loads of aggression, straight up the middle
Google Maps' indoor offerings - floor plans, often of shops or other public spaces, until now browsable on Android devices only - are now browsable in browsers too, so one can plan a day out down to the smallest detail.
Floorplans launched in America just over a year ago, and in the UK back in July, but only on Android devices on the (quite reasonable) grounds that it is when one is mobile that one needs indoor maps. This was a differentiator for Android too: but not any more, as now anyone with a decent web browser can get floorplans for more than 10,000 locations.
The maps only cover the most compliant of places: City Airport but not Heathrow, airports in Las Vegas but not in Los Angeles. Only sites which have delivered the data to the Googleplex themselves are included - there's no Streetview-like team team armed with 3D laser volume scanners yet, amusing as that would be.
Quite how useful internal mapping is - when GPS is unlikely to be working indoors - is debatable, but Google is clearly thinking ahead to a time when proper indoor location will be available. Next-generation systems such as the European Galileo have slightly better building penetration, and then there's the use of Wi-Fi and/or Bluetooth unique device ID techniques and even clever use of white space systems.
Routine deployment of accurate indoor tracking is only a few years off at worst, so the time to gather the data is now. ®