Google has just announced its latest move with its Maps for Android app, which has been angled toward e-commerce, but that now includes a new feature that allows smartphones and tablets based on Android to view their own position and use that to find what stores are nearby in some airports, malls, and even retail stores.
Google has effectively brought its enormous online mapping software tools – which have already been able to effectively graph both real-world and digital footage – into the world inside so that users of mobile devices can discover what can be found in buildings nearby.
This new function is being added to the Google Maps 6.0 which is available for Android, and provides detailed floor plans whenever the user is using the app to provide a map of retailers such as the Minneapolis Mall of America, as well as Ikea or Macy’s. A number of airports, such as San Francisco International, are also included in this feature.
The approximate location of the user is indicated with an icon of a blue dot, which is accurate to a few meters. The app combines the abilities of cell towers, GPS, and WiFi hubs in order to provide the necessary data, which is communicated to the location servers at Google. The app also automatically provides layout updates to the map as the device user moves around within a building, including up and down on different levels of the structure.
Steve Lee, the product manager at Google, said that the location data from the app is accurate indoors to a range of about 5 to 10 meters.