Google Maps News from Google I/O Conference
Lots of exciting news regarding Google Maps coming out of the Google I/O Conference this week.
Google Maps API V3 Graduates!
Google Maps API V3 was introduced as a Google Code Labs project, and at this year’s conference it has graduated out of labs and is now the recommended version for Google Maps application development efforts. According to Google:
Version 3 was built from the ground up to offer a clean, fast, and powerful maps application development platform for both desktop web browsers and mobile devices.
It was also announced that StreetView is now available at Version 3 in addition to new features such as such as elevation, bicycling directions, and optimised routing. StreetView is noticeably different at Version 3:
When you use Street View in v3 you will notice a number of differences with v2. The most significant change is that Street View is entirely implemented in HTML in order to accommodate all of the mobile devices on which v3 is supported. We have also added Pegman support to the map, and a number of new features, including markers, infowindows, and custom imagery.
The Maps API V2 and Mapplets have now been deprecated which indicates that no future development will take place on these versions. However, they will be maintained and supported for a minimum of 3 years.
At GeoSpatial Training Services we are planning to release updated versions of our Introduction to the Google Maps API and Advanced Google Maps Programming courses this summer to reflect the many changes in the Google Maps API at Version 3.
Directions Web Service
The Directions Web Service is a companion to the existing Geocoding and Elevation Web Services, and allows applications to obtain Driving, Bicycling, and Walking directions through an XML/JSON REST interface. All of the features of the Map API v3 Directions service are supported, including “avoid highways”, “avoid tolls”, and waypoint optimization (travelling salesman solver). For more information, check out the Directions Web Services documentation.
New Nearby Places Widget
Today’s big announcement is the new Nearby Places widget. The Nearby Places widget is a user interface element that will launch in the Google Maps API v3. It combines the W3C Geolocation API with location based Place search to present the user with a list of Places in their immediate vicinity. The user can select a Place which the Maps API application can use as a check-in, or to tag content supplied by the user about that place. The application can also obtain more detailed information about the Place, such as the address, telephone number, and Place Page URL.
The Nearby Places widget is built on top of the Places Web Service, a new addition to the family of Google Maps API Web Services. The Places Web service offers search for nearby places to native mobile applications through an XML/JSON REST interface.