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from the L.A. Times

Google Maps 6.0 includes indoor mapping of Macy's, IKEA, airports

Google Maps 6.0 has the ability to help you navigate some of the great indoors.

Google is bringing its mapping technology to the great indoors.

With the launch of Google Maps 6.0 on Tuesday, users of mobile devices running Android OS 2.1 and up will have the ability to use Google Maps not just to get directions to an IKEA, Macy's or one of several airports, but to use the mapping functionality to figure out how to find housewares, ATMs, and your flight gate once you are inside.

Google's inside mapping will work similarly to its outside mapping. A little blue dot will move along with you to show you where you are, and the technology is even able to know what floor you are on -- what Steve Lee, director of product management for Google, called "the third dimension of mapping."

It's exciting news, but there are a few caveats. The release is pretty limited. Although Google's launch partners include 18 U.S. airports -- notably some of the biggies, such as Chicago O'Hare International Airport, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and San Francisco International Airport (obviously) -- LAX and JFK are still not available.

Some of the big-box stores such as IKEA, Macy's, Bloomingdales and Home Depot have already been mapped, but not Target. Not Wal-Mart. And not nearly as many malls as you'd like to see, especially in this holiday season.

"While we are super proud of this launch, it is still a small slice of indoor public spaces in the world," Lee said. "The goal is to get to where we can deliver detailed maps for all indoor spaces."

One additional bummer: Google Maps 6.0 is currently only available for Android, which means: iPhone owners, this is not yet for you. A Google spokeswoman said there is still no specific timing for when indoor maps will be available for non-Android platforms.

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-- Deborah Netburn

Image: The Google Map 6.0 view of Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Credit: Google

 
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