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Earth Google Software Technology

Google Wants to Map Indoors, Too 174

Posted by timothy
from the where's-the-good-silverware dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Google maps are getting extended indoors next month with a new app called Micello that takes over where conventional navigators leave off — mapping your route inside of buildings, malls, convention centers and other points of interest. You don't get a 'you are here' blinking dot yet — but they do promise to add one next year using WiFi triangulation. At the introduction next month, Micello will only work in California, but they plan to expand to other major US cities during 2010."
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Google Wants to Map Indoors, Too

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  • by dgatwood (11270) on Wednesday September 30, 2009 @04:57PM (#29598785) Journal

    but Google maps keeps directing me to the middle of the city.

    • by Shakrai (717556) on Wednesday September 30, 2009 @05:02PM (#29598849) Journal

      I don't know about you but I can't wait for the "George Costanza" app that uses Google's API to map out the best public and private bathrooms in a city ;)

      • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Wednesday September 30, 2009 @05:28PM (#29599143) Journal

        I used to study for exams inside JCPenney's truck-loading dock bathroom. I had a test tomorrow, but I couldn't leave my job, and so that seemed a natural place to hide and review my notes for 1 or 2 hours without getting caught. Quiet too since the dock was rarely used at night.

        Ahhh the good old days.

        • by Romancer (19668)

          This is why security guards need to be used with security cameras at all times.

          So they can watch eachother.

      • by insertwackynamehere (891357) on Wednesday September 30, 2009 @05:37PM (#29599201) Journal
        Actually this has been joked about before around where I interned, because my boss developed an iPhone application called SitOrSquat and I actually implemented Google's API in it (he had made his own mapping system using MS tiles before 3.0 came out with Google support built in) and I also developed the signifigantly lagging behind Android version. I'm not trying to whore but not only does the app exist but the exact same Costanza joke has been made before around the office.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        • North Lobby (Score:5, Funny)

          by Jay L (74152) * <{mf.yaj} {ta} {hsals+yaj}> on Thursday October 01, 2009 @03:20AM (#29602717) Homepage

          You are in a nicely-appointed lobby that would not be out of place at an upscale accounting firm. There is a reception desk, some waiting chairs, and a stack of Wall Street Journals. Down the hall to the east, you hear sounds of flushing.

          > GO TO BATHROOM

          Here? In the lobby? You would certainly be escorted out by the grumpy security guard that just walked through.

          > ASK GUARD FOR BATHROOM

          He's gone already, but did not seem the conversational type. He walked down the hall to the east, opened a door, and went inside. You can hear a faucet running there.

          > GO TO BATHROOM

          Using what? The stack of Wall Street Journals? They are printed on 100% post-consumer recycled fibers, if you catch our drift. It would be unpleasant.

          > GO EAST

          You wander down the hallway, a little too frantic for a casual stroll, muttering "Follow that guard!" to yourself and giggling. You spy two doors, marked "Women" and "Men". The men's room door is open. You see a guard inside, eyeing the last sheet of toilet paper.

          > GO TO BATHROOM

          You're in the men's room already.

          > GO TO BATHROOM IN BATHROOM

          WIth what? Your bare hands?

          > GO TO BATHROOM IN BATHROOM WITH TOILET PAPER

          Splendid concept, that toilet paper. Changed the whole face of hygiene (and the other end too.) Sadly, the guard has highly-trained bathroom-guard reflexes, and snatches the last sheet before you can even blink. As he quivers with smug satisfaction, you notice a billfold in his pocket. It contains quite a bit of cash.

          > ASK GUARD TWO FIVES FOR A TEN

      • There is already.

        It's called show me the loo on the iPhone. Toilets can be rated and this information is shared via the app.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by barzok (26681)

        http://www.imodium.com/page.jhtml?id=imodium/include/3_5.inc [imodium.com]

        But it's Flash, so it won't work on an iPhone.

    • by interkin3tic (1469267) on Wednesday September 30, 2009 @05:31PM (#29599169)

      I don't believe you DO need to find the bathroom: Googlebladder tells me you have a mostly empty bladder. Then again, it is still in beta, and I don't have an invite to googlecolon.

      • Googlebladder would come in handy. I'm also waiting for the day, when we check Google-RealTime-Full-BodyScans to determine pregnancy rather than having our women use test kits.

    • by CarpetShark (865376) on Wednesday September 30, 2009 @05:56PM (#29599373)

      but Google maps keeps directing me to the middle of the city.

      That's because Google has analysed your browsing habits, and is aware that you're an exhibitionist ;)

      • by dgatwood (11270)

        This is only modded up to +4 Funny. Clearly the folks moderating don't know me or it would somehow miraculously get modded up to +10.

        • by ubrgeek (679399)
          Well, thanks to Google's commentrank technology, the more comments marked "funny" that spawn off of this one will increase the parent's "funny" ranking, allowing context-sensitive ads like "Kdawson post" or "YRO" or even "citation needed" to appear.
    • by ivucica (1001089) on Thursday October 01, 2009 @05:59AM (#29603355) Homepage

      Unrelated to Google!

      As expected on Slashdot, not only the submitter, but also the /. editor didn't bother to read TFA. One segment might tip you off:

      Ankit Agarwal, founder and CEO of Micello

      This is a separate company called Micello with a separate product. They may be counting on Google to buy them, but their only current relation to Google Maps is that they mention Google's product in the description of their own product, and that the article title contains the words "Google Maps".

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 30, 2009 @04:59PM (#29598817)

    Then I'll be impressed. And scared.

  • I volunteer (Score:3, Informative)

    by xednieht (1117791) on Wednesday September 30, 2009 @05:01PM (#29598837) Homepage
    To map all the strip joints and beer pubs.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Follier (901079)
      I'd reconsider that...

      There are some parts of those buildings you really don't want to go.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by tacarat (696339)
        What about reviews and price lists for the parts of those buildings you DO want to go to?
    • >>>To map all the strip joints and beer pubs.

      And also the path to the girls' dorm's shower room. (Think Revenge of the Nerds or Porkys.)

  • Just when I thought I could sleep under my desk...
  • This is great! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Ponga (934481) on Wednesday September 30, 2009 @05:02PM (#29598863)
    Soon, the human race will never again need to have a sense of direction, thanks to our GPS-and-wifi-triangulation-capable overlords!

    :/
    • Re:This is great! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Shakrai (717556) on Wednesday September 30, 2009 @05:10PM (#29598933) Journal

      Soon, the human race will never again need to have a sense of direction, thanks to our GPS-and-wifi-triangulation-capable overlords!

      That depends on how lazy the individual human is, doesn't it? I finally broke down and bought a TomTom for my travels but I don't feel compelled to use it (or even keep it in the car) when I'm near home. When traveling though it's incredibly useful. Even if you have a good sense of direction you'll find that the point of interest database will completely change the way you travel. Hmm, I'm hungry, how about some Italian? *tap, tap tap*, this place looks good and it's only three miles off our route.

      I also like the TomTom over the cellular/google equivalents because I know it isn't phoning the mother ship with details about my location and travels. Personally I don't trust Google at all anymore with their data retention policy and sheer size. Perhaps that's a little paranoia on my part but it's the way I feel. A disconnected device has less privacy concerns and doesn't stop working if you wander somewhere without cellular service.

      • by poetmatt (793785)

        you also paid anywhere from $60 to $300 or more for absolutely nothing that you can't do with a phone nowadays - you don't even need a phone with GPS or a screen for that - just call goog 411.

        • by Shakrai (717556)

          That works real well in rural areas without cell phone service.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Deag (250823)

          But you can't do what he described with a phone - finding somewhere close to where you are and giving you turn by turn directions.

          How does that work without GPS?

          • by poetmatt (793785)

            411 can give you directions without GPS now. It's something people don't realize. You're billed by the call too, so it's pretty darn nice. Goog 411 can help you find the place, and regular 411 can do the rest.

            Meanwhile, trusting in your GPS when you don't have cellphone reception can, you know, lead you off a cliff.

            Nothing beats simply planning your route *BEFORE* you leave.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Shakrai (717556)

              You're billed by the call too, so it's pretty darn nice.

              How is being billed by the call "pretty darn nice" as opposed to something which has a one time fee and which you own?

              Goog 411 can help you find the place

              Google 411 can help me find an Italian/Japanese/what-have-you restaurant based on no information besides "I'm on I-81 in Virgina at mile marker 157"?

              trusting in your GPS when you don't have cellphone reception can, you know, lead you off a cliff.

              Huh?

              Nothing beats simply planning your route *BEFORE* you leave.

              What if I decide I'm hungry along the way and didn't want to plan my lunch at a precise time?

              • by bendodge (998616)

                How is being billed by the call "pretty darn nice" as opposed to something which has a one time fee and which you own?

                One time fee? Have you ever looked at what Garmin charges for a map update (upwards of $60)? I get to drive around doing dropoff/pickup of customers' boxen, and I find that maps age very quickly.

            • by Romancer (19668)

              Ok, so you're saying to trust the 411 cell phone call directions when you don't have cell phone reception to enable the mapping portion for GPS on your cell phone?

              What part of that makes sense?

              No cell phone reception means no calls. No reception does not mean the built in mapping data in unavailable and could still walk you through the turns if not track your location automatically. As I remember most streets are marked with these little signs at the intersections to tell you where you are.

              • by poetmatt (793785)

                who says you're not going to have areas where you don't have a GPS signal but do have cell reception, inversely?

                Trees are not exactly GPS friendly, you know.

                • by Zakabog (603757)

                  Trees are not exactly GPS friendly, you know.

                  While I may live in NYC, I still live in a part with plenty of trees (Staten Island, the borough of parks.) There are some places where I lose signal for a second or two but they usually pass quite quickly (I can usually tell I'm in one of these areas because my satellite radio also loses signal for a second or two. There are PLENTY of places where I lose cell phone signal, and it doesn't come back that simply, usually I have to drive for a bit before I receive signal again. Plus when you're out west there

                  • by poetmatt (793785)

                    Right, and that is supposed to be the same across all cellphone providers?

                    GPS is *always* blocked by trees. Cellphone service is provider specific.

      • by Lumpy (12016)

        I dont use my GPS for finding my way. I use it's best function.

        Points of interest near my location. I love how my garmin will show the next 5 exist and let me pick food, sleep, gas, hookers, etc.... and then I can look at that list.

        I just wish I could put in a favorite for each category, Say "speedway" for gas stations and make that at the top of the list...

        THAT"s the best use, as well as my custom POI database showing speed traps and cameras.

        Oh and my $99.00 Garmin does thins 80 times better than the $

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Shakrai (717556)

          I love how my garmin will show the next 5 exist and let me pick food, sleep, gas, hookers, etc.... and then I can look at that list.

          Your garmin has hookers in it's POI database? Shit, if I had known that I wouldn't have gone with the TomTom ;) Can you limit the search to ones without STDs?

          I just have to buy a new POI and Map database every 2 years

          How much does garmin charge you for that? I think TomTom is around $50 for a year worth of updates, i.e: it's not just one download and your done.

          • by Lumpy (12016)

            $50.00 a year. If I go every 2 and pay $99.00 for a new GPS I get new hardware, new battery, and new database+maps. Silly to pay the same $$$ for new data in a old hardware. Buddy of mine changes his every 5 years because rarely does anything change in the map data to really need the update.

            and No, I'm fooling about the hookers part, Garmin wont give the ladies of the night equal billing with Bob Evans restaurants.

          • Nah, there's better IT for that out there.

            Just open up your national database and run Reports/Entertainment/Personal/Discreet Range=YourCity Conditions/Add/#STD=0 OK/OK/ Print to File.

      • by _Sprocket_ (42527) on Wednesday September 30, 2009 @06:17PM (#29599591)

        Personally I don't trust Google at all anymore with their data retention policy and sheer size. Perhaps that's a little paranoia on my part but it's the way I feel.

        Theme song from "Jaws"... a knock sounds at the door. A woman answers, "Yes?"

        A muffled voice sounds from the other side of the door, "Mrs. Arlsbergerhh?"

        "Who?"

        Again the voice is muffled, "Mrs. Johnannesburrrr?"

        "Who is it?"

        "Flowers."

        "Flowers? From whom?"

        "Plumber, ma'am.."

        "I don't need a plumber. You're that clever Google, aren't you?"

        "Candygram."

        "Candygram, my foot! Get out of here before I call the proper authorities. You're Google, and you know it."

        "I'm only TomTom, ma'am.."

        "TomTom? Well.. okay.."

      • You are too LAZY to leave a piece of plastic in the car when that is clearly the only place you will need it?

        Denial much?
      • by adolf (21054)

        Who are you afraid of, son? Well? Out with it! Is she married? No? You in some kind of real trouble, then? They armed?

        Since you still ain't talkin', I'd guess they's armed.

        Bastards.

        If those thugs want your GPS history, they a'gonna get it. You think your TomTom's safe? Wait'til they've got a .357 in your face, and then you tell me about how safe your cutesy TomTom is.

        List'n here, son: You ain't safe. Ain't noone safe these days. I reckon you might hightail it into the woods, but they'd still find

      • That depends on how lazy the individual human is

        Not always.

        I have no sense of direction. Here's an illustration - Back in my teens, my dad was driving and we were lost in the middle of nowhere in that maze of dirt roads that criscrosses the east Texas piney woods. We were looking for a shooting range where I was scheduled to participate in a pistol competition.

        We pulled up to a T-intersection where we had to turn either left or right. My dad took his hands off the wheel, turned to me and asked "Which

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Soon, the human race will never again need to have a sense of direction, thanks to our GPS-and-wifi-triangulation-capable overlords!

      Right, just like how Plato said in Phaedrus that writing would rid us of our need for a memory.
      Or like how radio ended the era of live musical performances.
      Or like how cars and elevators have made walking obsolete.

      Honestly, technology does change our lives, but it doesn't make such integral parts of them a thing of the past... technophobes just like to squawk that they will.

  • Not google! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 30, 2009 @05:02PM (#29598871)

    Apparently submitter didn't RTFA, it's not -GOOGLE- that is doing this, but a company called Micello, they just use google maps. I realize that not reading the article is the norm, but can the editors at least read the first paragraph in the linked article before approving?

    • by dmomo (256005)

      yeah. I thought that was odd too. It's not a Google product. I'm glad to see that it's not Google, and I'm also glad that it uses Google. It goes to show that allowing others to use your platform can help innovation.

      There's a video here of a demo being performed for some VCs. http://www.micello.com/ [micello.com]

      Pretty "lively" CEO. It's a good sign when the person pushing a product comes off as genuinely enthusiastic.

    • by SnarfQuest (469614) on Wednesday September 30, 2009 @05:27PM (#29599127)

      The normal slashdot reader doesn't bother with the articles, so why should the editors waste their time on something that will never be checked?

    • by mcrbids (148650)

      Apparently submitter didn't RTFA, it's not -GOOGLE- that is doing this, but a company called Micello, they just use google maps. I realize that not reading the article is the norm, but can the editors at least read the first paragraph in the linked article before approving?

      And, of course, Google doesn't log what you do using their Google Maps product....

  • Illegal reporting? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 30, 2009 @05:03PM (#29598873)

    This is both incorrect, misleading, and illegal reporting. It uses Google Maps outside, and its own crap completely unrelated to Google inside. It's not "quite literally" Google Maps for inside places. It's a mapping tool, and Google Maps happens to also be a mapping tool. I don't think we need to use another company's trademarks to let people know what the hell a map is.

    • "Micello is quite literally Google maps for the insides of buildings," said Ankit Agarwal, founder and CEO of Micello

      From TFA. And how the heck would that be illegal?

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by eln (21727)
        Misusing the word "literally" like that SHOULD be illegal...maybe that's what the OP had in mind.
        • by SomeJoel (1061138)

          Misusing the word "literally" like that SHOULD be illegal...maybe that's what the OP had in mind.

          You're right, I'm so angry right now I'm literally on fire.

    • Illegal? I don't know how it would be even close. You'd be surprised what the first amendment covers in the USA
      • Misuse of a trademark. And it could count as libel depending on how people feel about this. So yeah this could be illegal.
        • Yeah, but such cases have a very high burden of proof (like willful misrepresentation), historically speaking. It can be done, but it's not easy, and IMHO extremely unlikely in this case.
  • by nurb432 (527695) on Wednesday September 30, 2009 @05:16PM (#29599003) Homepage Journal

    Im all for freedom of information, but are they planning on publishing floor plans of private buildings too? That could be a severe security risk in some cases.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      you will know when the google van crashes through your front door and starts mapping out your house.

    • Im all for freedom of information, but are they planning on publishing floor plans of private buildings too? That could be a severe security risk in some cases.

      It seems to me they're only going to be doing this for public buildings,and only the areas where the public is welcome. Why would they publish the interiors of non-public buildings? If you need security clearance to get into an area, you probably aren't going to have to look online for a map of the place. They're not going to be mapping the private rooms of the whitehouse, because if you're in those areas you undoubtedly know the place.

      I'd expect a big use of this would be airports, which your first reac

      • by nurb432 (527695)

        There are some buildings which are quasi public, that they might actually be able to publish.

        True security clearance buildings would of course be off limits.

      • by Zerth (26112)

        Perhaps not every county office has reached the 21st century yet, but my county has the floorplans(the filed ones, anyway) of every building in it.

        It wouldn't take google very long to crawl and digest. They could probably even overlay it on the existing satellite imagery and get the scale right 3/4s of the time.

    • We don't know where they are getting the floor plans from. This is custom software separate from Google Maps. They might be getting public blue prints from the library for public places, but I doubt they can get them for private houses and places. Unless they use an x-ray device to see the insides of a house and make a map, they have to use blue prints.

    • by fyrewulff (702920)
      You mean the house blueprints you can already pull from the internet via most county assessor offices?
  • by FiloEleven (602040) on Wednesday September 30, 2009 @05:19PM (#29599043)

    "Micello is quite literally Google maps for the insides of buildings," said Ankit Agarwal, founder and CEO of Micello. "We are mapping the last unchartered territory--the last mile--between the front door and where you are going."

    Whoa. Big building.

    • by argent (18001)

      The main loop on the campus here is about a mile long.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ChefInnocent (667809)
      Well, maybe they were thinking BnL from Wall-E or Costco from Idiocracy.
    • by rwyoder (759998)

      Whoa. Big building.

      I used to work in a building a mile long.
      Go to Google maps and plug in: Ft Worth NAS, Texas
      To the West of the runway, (and parallel to it), is an assembly building operated by Lockheed.
      It is one mile from end to end.

  • by HikingStick (878216) <<z01riemer> <at> <hotmail.com>> on Wednesday September 30, 2009 @05:22PM (#29599067)
    Micello or anyone else, I think they'll run into trouble with some management companies for places like malls and large office buildings who will view such maps as security threats. In reality, it could be a real benefit for business (the first time I had to navigate the Minneapolis Skyway system, it took me an extra 30 minutes to find the place I was seeking), but I just don't know that the property managers will see it that way.
  • ...I think I can find the bathroom without Google's help.

  • Now I can slap a cell phone onto a bear, to answer the question "Does a bear shit in the woods"!
    And the corrollary, "Does the pope shit in the woods".
    I'm sure tha t I can borrow a couple of phones from other intrested parties.

  • They'll be wanting to map our insides next.

    Lookout for a Google Probe coming your way soon...

  • Now when I'm navigating crowded stores, at least the people who can't be bothered to look up from their phone long enough to stay the hell out of everyone's way will know exactly where they are going.
  • Google is spreading like a plague with invasive technology. Eventually they'll just turn into SkyNet and overthrow the human race. Is there anything we can do to stop this company and their evil ambitions?

    A least Microsoft isn't taking picture of people's homes and posting them online without permission. Windows is a nasty DRM'd beast, but I can choose not to have my privacy violated by not using their software. In that sense Microsoft is less evil than Google.

    • by JonTurner (178845) on Wednesday September 30, 2009 @09:25PM (#29600919) Journal

      >>A least Microsoft isn't taking picture of people's homes and posting them online without permission.

      They don't have to -- if your home has been built or purchased in the past 30 years, it's likely the floorplan is already available online. Just check with your county/parish tax assessor's office. With many of them, just enter the street address and you can see a county tax appraisor's estimate of value beside a photo or two of the home and a floorplan drawing.

      This information, in most cases is considered public information and is thus available free to anyone who can click a mouse. Worst case, a simple data scraper would yield an entire county's data in a few days.

      So no, they don't have to drive around and take photos when photos are already available online, complete with a floorplan courtesy of the government.

  • by mkarcher (136108)

    You know we're just asking for trouble with this, right?

    One day, the DoD is going to license this technology, mod it with tracking capabilities, and deploy it to track personnel in secure facilities with an intuitive color-coded interface showing clearance requirements for areas and clearance levels for personnel. It'll deploy to secure facilities, one by one, improving security in small, but nontrivial amounts.

    And then, of course, toward the end of the deployment schedule, it'll make it into Cheyenne Moun

    • We better pray that they hard-coded "Don't be Evil" into it's source at assembly level.

      Hate to be the one to tell you there is a nice convenient #ifdef...#endif around the "Don't be Evil" code.

  • I know my dog would like to make a few more bucks to spend on hot dogs and rawhide chews. I can just see it now, my dog wandering around the house with a google camera backpack. I better close the door when I'm showering...

    Sheldon

  • "Micello will only work in California, but they plan to expand to other major US cities during 2010."

    If I need to explain this to you, please enter "MTV.com" in your address bar, hit Enter, and spend time on a site more in line with your intellectual capacity.

  • Can they map out the banks? if they could include alarm systems as well as the floor plan I would be grateful..
  • ... and they can make me secretary of the pussy.

  • by JustNiz (692889)

    Now you have to watch out for those Google Maps camera cars driving around in your kitchen and living room too.

  • I bet we could see this quashed by National Security. I mean, while it may be useful to have the ability to get walk-thru directions in a public building or forum, but imagine how quickly security folks will want to see that feature disabled when someone 'important' will be in a public venue, political leader, rock star, etc...?

  • Nokia has been working on a map app which you would use when in larger malls. Currently, the app is only in Beta (if that) and only works for one mall in Finland, but they're one step ahead, regardless....

  • by ari_j (90255) on Thursday October 01, 2009 @08:47AM (#29604351)
    Contrary to popular belief, California is not (yet) a major US city. There is at least seven feet of open space between Los Angeles and San Francisco.
  • We could aggregate data from the Android comparison-shopping app, and use it to map out product locations in a store. Then you could walk into a grocery store and punch in "cream of coconut" and see where it is.

    Of course, to make this practical, the store would have to be "indexed" frequently by lots of shopper activity. Or the store itself could cooperate and scan stuff into the map as they stock the shelves. But generally their motives are against giving you a direct route, since they want you to wander a

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