It appears as though Google Maps is beginning its next step forward. While Apple Maps is currently in the biggest-internet-joke-of-the-week phase of their development, Google Maps has been working on something else. Namely, indoor navigation for various places in France.
Google Maps has done the whole indoors thing before. Floor plans are already available for 20 United States museums and several other locations. It's nice to see Google continuing their indoor campaign.
For now, the new indoor locations in France include several major airports, shopping centers, and museums. More specifically, the La La Géode, FNAC, Carrefour, and various other places. This is really cool if you live in France as you can now see how Google Maps works inside buidings.
It's very likely Google won't be doing indoors for every building in the world. Mostly because most buildings are houses and people wouldn't want their privacy invaded that much. That is only reasonable, I wouldn't want my house layout on Google Maps unless it was for sale.
There is no reason to believe that this won't eventually be available for most public buildings. At the very least, the most popular ones. The challenge lies in incorporating the building floor plans into Google Maps.
For regular road usage, they just need satellite photographs. Since x-ray vision isn't a reality just yet, that means someone has to get the building layout done manually.
It wouldn't be difficult, but it would definitely be tedious. Incorporating floor plans into Google Maps would take a very long time. Thus, it won't be any time soon that we'll see maps for local grocery stores or shopping malls.
If Google Maps does manage to pull this off, would it spell the end for all mobile maps competition? Most navigation applications are still having trouble in many basic areas. Apple Maps is having trouble everywhere. Yet here is Google, taking the next step forward and offering indoor navigation. What are your thoughts?