‘Tis the season for a proper shop, it seems, but not for getting lost, as Google teams up with shopping centres across Australia to help you find your way.
Depending on the closest big mall or shopping centre near you, there’s a chance you’ve found yourself scrambling for an automated information desk or a sign to tell you where to go.
It’s kind of like a badge of honour these days, so don’t fret too much, but shopping centres are big, and so as the owners and designers of these places try to stuff more shops into them, your sense of how to find these shops might just go out the window. They’re in there… maybe… you just have to keep navigating a path to find them.
Technology can help with this, though, and so Google has begun working with shopping centres in Australia and New Zealand to provide an internal Google Street View to help you find your way around even before you leave your home.
Much like how Street View lets you work out where you’re going out in the real world, this internal Street View approach allows you to work out where to go inside the mall to plan a route and not get lost. During the holiday season, it might just be the difference between being stuck behind crowds desperate to find the next big deal, and you knowing exactly where you want to go.
For this launch, Google has teamed up with AMP Capital’s shopping centres, including Brickworks and Pacific Fair in Queensland, Malvern and Stud Park in Victoria, Ocean Keys in WA, and Royal Randwick, Marrickville Metro, and Macquarie Shopping Centres in NSW. Our nearby friends in New Zealand also see the tech, with it working at places including Bayfair, Botany Town, Centre City, Merivale, and The Palms Shopping Centres.
“Our Street View technology allows people to virtually walk paths and explore a space before they visit,” said Cynthia Wei, Program Manager for Google Street View.
“While this technology is most well-known for helping you navigate outdoors along roads or walking trails, it can also be implemented to indoor spaces — and we’re excited to bring this to AMP Capital shopping centres to help Australians and New Zealanders find their favourite stores more easily.”
The approach means that you can essentially map out how you want to get around a supported shopping centre, especially handy if you want to get in and get out with less fuss. While online shopping is still likely to be in demand, especially as it means you don’t need to go anywhere, this approach to Street View could help people embrace a desire to still go somewhere and shop in person without necessarily dealing with as much of the commonly expected holiday crowds.
Getting around Australian and New Zealand shopping centres in Street View is largely like how you’d expect to use Street View in real life, except there are levels. You’re moving the map forwards, backwards, left and right, but when you want to go up and down, don’t use the escalators like you would in real life, as they don’t do anything. Instead, use the level controller in the bottom right section of the Google Street View screen.
As to other malls and shopping centres, there’s no word yet as to whether other malls, such as the Westfield variety, will be coming to Google Street View. Tested this week, you could easily drag the Street View man in Google Maps to some of the aforementioned shopping centres to go inside, but Westfield ones left you firmly outside.