Google’s maps go indoors with new mobile feature

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) ? Google’s next frontier in digital mapping will span the world’s shopping malls and airports.

In an upgrade released Tuesday, Google Inc. unveiled a feature that will include indoor directions within stores, malls, airports and transit centers in the U.S. and Japan.

The indoor directions include two retailers known for their labyrinth stores ? Home Depot and Ikea. Macy’s and Bloomingdales also have shared the floor plans of a few of their biggest stores. The Mall of America in Minnesota and 16 U.S. airports also are included in Google’s initial index of indoor directions.

For now, Google’s indoor maps can only be viewed on smartphones and tablet computers that run on the company’s Android software. That’s still a potentially huge audience because more than 550,000 Android-powered devices are activated each day.