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New Android app brings indoor Google Maps to the UK

The UK may not be renowned for its idealistic climate, so it is perhaps a fitting backdrop for the launch of Google's indoor maps for Android.

British residents and tourists visiting the Isles will now have the luxury of pulling out their Android smartphone to find a department store's shoe section, instead of asking for directions.

On the company's blog, Google UK's Geo Indoor Partnerships lead Razia Ahamed promised that "you'll no longer need to feel clueless" while trying to figure out where to grab coffee before catching the next train.

And certainly, the embarrassment of asking where a store's lingerie section is will be gone, he said, "because you'll have all the answers in the palm of your hand."

Google announced in October that it would take its Street View mapping experience indoors, adding to its navigation lineup of streets, landmarks, parks, and other various locations around the world.

Simply open Google Maps on an Android phone, zoom in on your intended location and the indoor floor plan appears, with a blue "You Are Here" dot, if the information is available within that building. From there, search for your next destination, and Google Maps will provide directions.

So far, 40 venues across the UK, from art galleries to sporting venues and airports, have signed on to provide an inside look, literally, at their buildings.

Over in the always sunny States, business owners looking for a way to get themselves on the Google Map need only contact a Google Trusted Photographer, who will independently shoot 360-degree interior photos for mapping integration.

Indoor maps are currently available in select locations in the UK, Switzerland, Canada, the US, and Japan. If you just can't wait for your business to get the new treatment, Google allows users to upload floor plans for future inclusion.

Google has been jazzing up its maps program recently, adding 3D technology for its mobile version of Google Earth and offering built-in support for local offers.