Google Maps users now have a new way of finding shops, ATMs and even toilets in more than 70 malls and hotels around Hong Kong and Macau, as the internet giant yesterday launched its Indoor Maps for both cities.
The feature - covering landmark buildings including the IFC Mall, Pacific Place, Chek Lap Kok airport and the Venetian Macao Resort Hotel - was first introduced to Asia in Japan in 2011, then Singapore earlier this year.
"Once you search these malls and hotels, you will see their floor plans," said Google Maps Asia-Pacific head Ben Luk. "You can see where the shops and even the elevators are."
Android and iOS device users can view floor plans for every level of the buildings through a "switch" function, while desktop users can see only main levels.
Three other Maps features were also launched: a function to add buildings and roads, one for businesses to display panoramic pictures of their interior, and an error-reporting function.
The Map Maker allows users to add buildings and roads with a drawing tool, and name them. Google staff will verify the information before approving them.
Art galleries, restaurants, boutiques and the like can hire photographers to take panoramic pictures of their interiors for display on Maps, said Google Hong Kong's head of sales, Stella Cheung Man-sze.
She said Google-designated photographers were required for such pictures because of technical issues, but they could be hired at "a reasonable price". More than 50 Hong Kong businesses were already part of this Business Photos feature, Cheung said.
The Maps feature has more than 200 new Street View spots - panoramic views from the streets - in Hong Kong, including the Avenue of Stars and the interior of Ocean Park.
In March, Google acknowledged to officials in the United States that it had violated people's privacy in its Street View mapping project when it scooped up passwords, e-mail addresses and other personal information from computer users.
But Cheung assured users yesterday that Google had not obtained any personal information from Hongkongers through its 200 new Street View spots.