I always try to spend some time in the exhibits when I go to ALA. It's fun to see the page-turning robots and book sorters.
But what I was struck by this year is not what was new, but what hasn't changed, and I've been going to ALA on and off since 1970. The exhibits are larger than they used to be, Google and Microsoft show up now, and Google Book Search gets a lot of attention in the meetings, but most of the exhibits haven't changed much at all. It's still mostly publishers and systems vendors and furniture makers and shelving systems and check-out systems. Lots of these have some new technology associated with them, but it all seems like evolution not revolution. The physical is more evident than the electronic, although maybe that's the nature of such a physical exhibition.