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Google's Indoor Maps come to the UK

Google has officially announced that its indoor mapping facility, which allows smartphones running Google Maps to provide location information and navigation in selected indoor facilities, is now available in the UK.

While Google Maps - and the multifarious competitors in the marketplace - is useful for finding a shopping centre or stadium, it falls down once you're inside. In larger facilities, finding the particular shop you're interested in or the seat you've been assigned can be a pain - which is why Google and others are developing indoor-compatible mapping systems which don't rely on a view of the satellite-laden sky to operate.

Launched in the US last year, the indoor functionality of Google Maps allows for searching and navigation to key areas in selected buildings. Sadly, it's a very limited system - with around 40 venues currently covered - as it requires Google to manually input floor plans into their system, rather than just tracing a satellite image of the area as with outdoor mapping.

"You'll no longer need to feel clueless when you're at the railway station, trying to figure out where to buy a coffee before you rush to catch your train from platform 11, nor will you feel embarrassed about asking for the lingerie section when you're in the department store – because you'll have all the answers in the palm of your hand", the company claimed at the launch of the facility.

Designed to provide tourists with key information for their visit to London for the Olympics, Google's focus is currently on the nation's capital - but expect to see the service extend to other areas in the near future.

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