While Google’s indoor mapping rolled out in the UK last week, in a bit of irony, those in London who would like to use their Android phones to navigate the British Museum or the Tate Modern will have to wait. However, starting today users of Google Maps 6.0+ in the United States will be able to simply zoom in on one of 22 museums and be magically greeted by a in-depth layout, directions to a desired exhibit, or just a helpful route to the nearest bathroom.
Many people are convinced the internet, or even Google specifically, is killing culture. This needn’t be the case. The internet is a fantastic tool for the furtherance of culture and history just as it’s great for sharing pornography and cat videos. The internet and the wired world we live in has the potential to truly further our society and Google has done a decent job for the most part. There is little doubt that most people will be using the “indoor” Google Maps to navigate airports, The Mall of America, and finding the most bacon-filled burgers in sporting stadiums, it’s nice that Google is trying.
But at least for today, the big news is the museums. The 22? The de Young Museum in San Francisco, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Cincinnati Museum Center, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, the American Museum of Natural History and 17 Smithsonian museums.
“More museums are adding their floor plans to Google Maps for Android soon, including the SFMOMA, The Phillips Collection, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and the National WWII Museum in New Orleans,” writes Cedric Dupont from the Google Maps for Mobile team.
He sums up today’s announcement with what can only be considered tacky and amateurish copy writing, “Along with the Google Art Project, indoor mapping is one more way we’re working with museums to bring greater access to revered cultural and educational institutions around the world. Tap into the latest version of Google Maps for Android in Google Play, and enjoy exploring the art and science of the great indoors.”
Thankfully that bit of hyperbole doesn’t overshadow this addition to Android. It does, however, make you wonder how many beautiful works of art will be missed as people, or the blue dots they will become, navigate rather than peruse and wander through America’s finest museums.