(Please see comment section below for correction to this story. The headline and the first paragraph have been edited to reflect this information.)
Aisle 300 of the exhibits hall at the Anaheim Convention Center is at the periphery of the cavernous space, and Booth 311 is very small, with a nondescript curtained backdrop, two tables, and a plexiglass tabletop sign frame whose message reads “First Time Exhibitor.” So, it was a bit incongruous to realize that this modest and outlying space was the place Google chose to debut a new service at the American Library Association’s annual conference — not only for its size but also since the company has exhibited before.
Google isn’t listed in the exhibit directory; nevertheless, its young employees with astute expressions — who dutifully refused to comment on the record — were there hawking Google Indoor Maps which the company rolled out for libraries a month ago.
The service is free and has been available to other institutions since last year, but now libraries, if they wish, can also upload floor plans to Google, which then incorporates the information into Google Maps for Mobile. So, if a user clicks on the image of the library building when it is at maximum magnification, the program then drills down into the building to reveal the interior layout. A library can choose what areas of the interior space to expose.
Two libraries – the Portland Public Library in Maine and the Hingham Public Library in Massachusetts — are live with the service (which usually takes four to eight weeks to go live), and another 100 libraries have already signed up. The Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners and the New England Library Association have been working with Google to spread news of the service, according to comments being made to librarians who stopped at the booth.
Indoor Maps is available for an Android 2.2 or above device in Google Maps for mobile version 6.0 or above, according to Google’s website.