Google has extended its indoor mapping to the UK, it will provide guidance around any property the owners care to share.
Google is starting with floor plans for 40 sites around the UK which include Kings Cross, City Airport and the V&A, but anywhere else that wants visitors to be able to navigate via Google will need to upload their own floor plans for Google to integrate.
The capability has been in Google Maps since version six, which was just lacking the data itself, so most Android users should now be able to zoom in to The Victoria and Albert for a floor-by-floor guide. Although users should be able many will find that they can’t because right now not many of the listed sites are working. The National Maritime Museum is an empty box, as is the V&A, though the British Museum is working perfectly so we’re assuming that once teething problems are resolved then the other sites will be working fine.
Google’s indoor mapping was launched in the USA back in November last year, and more than six months later there are only 51 listed sites (though some of those are department-store chains), and none are the supermarkets which are surely the indoor place where people are most often lost. Aisle 411, which launched in November 2011 with the intention of mapping supermarket shelves whether or not the supermarkets wanted it, is still rolling on. Supermarkets don’t always want to be mapped; controlling the flow of customers is part of their business models, so it’s hard to imagine they’ll be contributing to Google Maps any time soon.
It will be interesting to see which businesses will take the Googleplex up on the offer of uploading their own maps.
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