Indoor maps of Las Vegas Casinos and more

At the 2012 Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Las Vegas, NV, attendees will now be able to use Google Maps on their Android devices to help them find their way in the sea of exhibitors and attractions throughout the Las Vegas Convention Center, select resorts and casinos along the Las Vegas strip, as well as the Las Vegas McCarran International Airport.

Las Vegas Convention Center with CES Exhibitors

Since November of last year, you’ve been able to use Google Maps in select places to get detailed floor plans and indoor location information within a few meters, as well as an accurate floor level location. Today, we’ve expanded the list of places with indoor maps by partnering with MGM Resorts International, Caesars Entertainment and others, to provide indoor maps for Caesars Palace, Bellagio, The Venetian, The Palazzo, MGM Grand and many more.

We hope that these indoor maps will come in handy when finding your way through the slots and to the shops. And for those of you who catch gadget-fever with CES in town, we’ve also partnered with a number of Best Buy stores in the Las Vegas area. For more detailed list of indoor maps partners, go to our help center or to see a demo, start here

Left: MGM Grand Hotel and Casino, Right: Caesars Palace
Starting today, we’re also releasing some of the first floor plans in Google Maps that were uploaded through the Google Maps Floor Plans tool. From malls to convention centers, museums and educational institutions from California to New York you will now be able to see these floor plans in Google Maps for Android

So the next time you are looking for the perfect table to win the jackpot or can’t find the nearest restroom, simply open Google Maps on your Android device and let indoor maps show you the way. If you’re attending CES, please come by the the Google Maps booth to learn more and preview our upcoming Google Maps game!

Street View with the Google Street View Image API

The Google Maps API family includes the Google Static Maps API, which delivers maps as fixed images in PNG, GIF, or JPG format. It’s great when you want to quickly add a map to a page without writing a JavaScript application, when you need maps on a device with no JavaScript support, or for generating lightweight thumbnail maps or maps for printing. In fact we’re so delighted with the popularity of the Static Maps API that today we’re launching an accompanying service for Street View imagery.

The Google Street View Image API brings the simplicity of the Static Maps API to Street View, providing a way to add a Street View image or thumbnail to any application without the need for JavaScript. Simply construct a URL in accordance with the documentation, and the API returns the corresponding Street View panorama as an image in JPG format:

You can use the Street View Image API in both web based and mobile apps, and the size limits and daily quotas match those of the Static Maps API for both the consumer Maps API and Maps API Premier. You can display Street View images in your apps using this API without a corresponding Google map, but if you do choose to display a map it must be provided by Google. For more details on how to use the Street View Image API please refer to the documentation.

To make it easier to find help using the Street View Image API and Static Maps API, we’re also launching a new forum today dedicated to these services. If you have any questions regarding use of these APIs going forward we recommend you head over to the new Google Maps Image APIs group. We look forward to seeing you there!


Got ideas? We’re listening.

In the past several months we’ve added several new features to Google Custom Search – and we have you to thank! More than a year ago, we told you about a new Google Custom Search Product Ideas page, and since then you’ve voted thousands of times on all sorts of great ideas for improving the product. That doesn’t even include the stellar suggestions we get on a regular basis in the help forum. In fact, query autocompletion was a help forum suggestion from swoodby that’s now available with just a few clicks in the Control Panel. We’re thrilled that we have this productive feedback loop with you, and want to report back on some of the product iterations we made during the past year.

Wireless data consumption has more than doubled every year, so we’re happy to have added mobile search features to the product. As requested on the Product Ideas page, users can now search on your website using their mobile devices. The default homepage for your custom search engine is now optimized for your on-the-go users. We will continue to optimize Custom Search to meet the needs of a growing mobile user base.

In response to your requests for metadata capabilities, we launched a set of features to support structured custom search. You now have the ability to filter by attributes such as author, define attribute ranges such as dates, and sort by specific attribute values such as ratings. We plan to make these metadata features even easier to use through the Custom Search Element, which generates code that you can copy and paste to easily add Custom Search to any website.

You’ve also made it clear from your feedback that you love customizing your search engine and adding your own flair. So, over time we’ve made it possible for you to tweak the layout of your results, customize your synonyms, control autocompletions, and apply custom styles to your search engine. Now it’s even possible to select a theme for your ads.

What’s the moral of the story here? Your mic is on and we’re listening. Keep the feedback coming in the help forum (the Product Ideas page is closed for now) and we’ll continue working to make Custom Search better. After all, it’s really your product.