Android handset owners have a Google Maps software update ready and waiting for them. Google announced the new release on Wednesday, which adds a few tricks for the brick-and-mortar shoppers out there. Maps now includes indoor walking directions for stores, malls and such, plus users can find nearby Google Offers. Even before you step foot into a shop or restaurant, you can now see the inside thanks to 360-degree panoramic views as well.
I’m not sure we should be surprised by the indoor walking maps, although they’re sure to be welcome in malls and large stores. If I recall correctly, when Google showed off its Project Glass demonstration, the simulation showed indoor maps to find a particular area in a store. At least we won’t need to wear the “Google Glasses” to get that functionality now.
Note that these features are limited by geography. Google Offers for Maps is U.S.-only, while the indoor walking directions — a beta — will work in the U.S. and Japan. Here’s a brief look at the Google Offers functionality within Maps; an approach I like better than checking in on Foursquare to get a deal or discount.