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Bing now maps the inside of your mall

Bing Maps now lets you see all the businesses that are inside of large malls. So far, it is available only at a handful of locations--and on computers rather than mobile devices.

Now you can figure out which side of the mall Bloomingdale's is on. Wait a minute...
Now you can figure out which side of the mall Bloomingdale's is on. Wait a minute...
Screenshot by Josh Lowensohn/CNET

Malls are, by their very nature, quite large, and while that lends itself well to a diversified retail experience, it can also be overwhelming, if you're visiting one for the first time (like in a new city) and don't know the layout.

To that end, Bing now maps out which stores are inside of malls instead of just placing a map marker on the building itself. Similar to satellite imagery when viewing Bing Maps on a mobile device or in the Bing Maps beta, the mall layer pops up only when you're at a certain zoom level. You can then click on any of the listed stores to get information like its address and telephone number.

In a post on Bing's Maps blog, Bing Maps product manager Brian Hendricks says the new system should make it easier for people to figure out where to park and speed up the Holiday shopping process.

Oddly enough, this level of detail is not yet available on the mobile version of Bing Maps, which would obviously be quite helpful, if you decide you want to head to a mall while away from a computer. In a statement e-mailed to CNET, Microsoft said this new layer is just the first step of the feature and that adding it to mobile devices is a "priority."

So far, the feature has been launched for just a handful of malls, with the majority being located in Washington state, as well as two in New York and one in Boston.

Here's hoping that the next big update adds a StreetSide view to let you virtually wander around the inside of malls.