Google has launched a brand new version of its Maps app for Android today, bringing it to version 6.0 (after no less than 12 updates to version 5). The new number is there probably to signify a shift in Google’s Maps strategy, since for the first time it has indoor maps as well.
For the first time for Google, that is. We’ve seen indoor positioning concepts before, even from Nokia, but so far Google Maps for Android is the most mainstream this tech has ever got so far. Anyway, it’s, as you’d expect from Google, still a Beta feature.
Furthermore, it’s only available in a limited number of venues, which are all either in the US or Japan, so if you aren’t in one of those countries, you’ll be waiting a lot more to get the new indoor maps.
Here’s a quick introductory video for the new feature:
Malls and airports seem to be the first types of venues to be targeted by Google for indoor maps, but the service will undoubtedly expand over the next months. For a full list of places currently having indoor maps, go here. The highlights include Mall of America, IKEA, The Home Depot, select Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s, Daimaru, Taskashimaya and Mitsukoshi locations, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), Chicago O’Hare (ORD), San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and Narita International (NRT).
Here’s a before and after shot of the Google Map for Mall of America in Minneapolis, complete with a floor selector:
Aside from the new indoor maps, the new version of Google Maps also comes with a revamped Places home screen (seen below). It now includes popular searches made from around your location, so you can find what you want faster.
Finally, there’s also a new top toolbar with an Ice Cream Sandwich-styled drop-down menu that lets you easily switch between features.
Google Maps 6.0 for Android is now available in the Android Market for devices running Android 2.1 and newer versions.
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