Charting the Final Frontier–Google Maps for Indoors

More and more, privacy becomes a thing of the past.


Ever been to a conference, shopping mall, college campus or even theme park, and wasn’t sure which way to turn? Micello will soon offer free maps to help you get to where you are supposed to be.

Google maps are great for navigating to an address, but once you arrive, it’s up to you to find the office, meeting room or vendor inside. Now Micello takes over where conventional navigators leave off, mapping your route inside buildings, malls, convention centers and other points of interest.

“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. We are building the foundation for an indoor location-based services market.”

Gartner predicts that location-based services will exceed $2.2 billion in 2009, and grow to as much as $8 billion by 2011. Micello plans to tap this market by charging fees to subscribing venues to provision the content at their location on Micello maps.

“We plan to make money from premium content, not ads,” said Agarwal. “We will charge to put premium content on our maps. For example, a conference organizer can pay to add the exhibitors booths and information about what is happening at that location, but it will only appear for the two or three days of the conference.”

Available as a free service to users of the iPhone, BlackBerry, Palm or Android mobile handsets, Micello displays the Google maps to an address adorned with icons showing where indoor maps are available. Once the user arrives at an address, clicking on the Micello icon overlays the indoor map. Search for a particular venue inside, and Micello highlights a recommended route from your current location. Future versions will also provide directions from your car in the parking lot, as well as store-to-store directions once inside a mall.

Micello also plans to personalize maps by highlighting items that may be of interest to users based on their profile and history, as well as allow them to share their location with Facebook friends, Twitter followers or LinkedIn contacts. In addition, users will be encouraged to crowd-source information about destinations by posting reviews about points of interest.

When Micello becomes available later this fall for the iPhone, it will come with maps for 150 points of interest in the Bay Area, with the rest of California slated for mapping by the end of the year. The other major cities, plus versions for BlackBerry, Palm and Android, are promised by the end of 2010, at which time Micello estimates it will have 5,000 shopping malls, 10,000 college campuses and 400 convention centers in its growing database. Locations will also include airports, stadiums, theme parks, golf courses, fitness centers and other venues where people naturally congregate.


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