The next time you can’t find a boutique or restaurant at one of Singapore’s dozens of shopping malls, take out your phone and let it guide you there.
Google has started providing indoor maps to Android phone users in Singapore this week, after first releasing the feature in the United States in 2011.
Detailed floor plans of 22 places, including downtown attractions like Ngee Ann City, Ion Orchard and Marina Bay Sands, as well as heartland malls such as Hougang Mall, now come up as users access their Maps app on their mobile devices.
They then simply find their way in the building as they would with the Maps feature while outdoors. The phone identifies which floor they are on, and points them in the right direction to their favourite eatery or boutique, for example.
CNet Asia had first reported on a way to enable the indoor maps yesterday. Today, Google confirmed that it has launched the feature in Singapore, along with 10 other countries, where there are already 10,000 building floor plans.
The company advises users to turn on Wi-Fi on their phones when they want to navigate indoors. This is likely to help locate a user by referencing the Wi-Fi access points in a mall.
For now, it appears that the features are best accessed on the Google Maps app on an Android phone. The desktop version of the maps, according to CNet, does not seem to be able to locate a user in a mall.
The Android version certainly works without a glitch. For an idea on how detailed the indoor maps are, check out the screenshots taken on a Google Nexus 4 phone in the gallery below.
Expect more indoor maps in future, as more Singapore building owners upload their floor plans to Google Maps. For now, these are the 22 buildings where you won’t worry about getting lost.
- Century Square
- Hougang Mall
- ION Orchard
- Liang Court
- Mandarin Gallery
- Marina Bay Sands
- Metro (Department store in Paragon)
- Ngee Ann City
- Orchard Central
- Parkway Parade
- Scotts Square
- Suntec City
- Takashimaya (Department store in Ngee Ann)
- Tampines 1
- The Centrepoint
- Tiong Bahru Plaza
- Triple one
- Wheelock Place
- White Sands
- Wisma Atria