Mike Lewis | May 11 2012 05:00 PM
Google Maps has long been one of the premiere apps and widely utilized across many platforms. Wednesday afternoon, the latest update pushed bringing some integration with other applications and expanded indoor search capability. The latest update serves to further round out the navigation experience:
- Discover nearby Google Offers in the US
- Indoor walking directions (Beta) for Japan and the US
- See 360° panoramas inside restaurants and stores
I have yet to be at a venue or location where indoor maps have been set up, but two good examples of how indoor mapping works is the San Francisco Airport and the Mall of America. Places like that which are just too hard to navigate on foot really benefit from having specific locations mapped out. On the phone we are also able to select the floor we are on which benefits locations that have several stories, like the Mall of America. I'm also yet to see indoor panoramas work, but over time, we will be able to get better bearings on large or even historic venues from the inside. I'm reminded of the power of seeing museums thanks to the Google Art project. Having capability like that on our phones will be a bonus.
Google Offers is more of a welcome addition to Maps. With Offers now intertwined, users can see local deals, select, save, and even use them on the fly. This is a direct move towards Groupon or LivingSocial customers who purchase coupons in advance and them use them at various locations. With offers, we can just use this coupon at the store without any pre-purchasing.
I'm not quite sure myself about the practical application of these updates. Pulling out my phone to navigate me around a mall or inside of a historical structure does not seem like something I would do every day. I am curious to know if anyone is going to use that feature or if they have tried one of these offers found via the new Maps update.