Thursday, June 30, 2005

Google sanctions mashups and hacks with Google Maps API

Google finally acknowledged the mash-up and hacking craze that Google Maps Mania has been spotlighting over the past several weeks. Coming on the heels of many unofficial Google Maps hacking guides, scripts and sites facilitating overlays from external sources to a Google Map, Google has released the following:

API

What is the Google Maps API? Here is what Google has to say:

The Google Maps API lets developers embed Google Maps in their own web pages with JavaScript. You can add overlays to the map (including markers and polylines) and display shadowed "info windows" just like Google Maps.

Here's the way Google will generate revenue from this:

The Maps API is a free beta service, available for any web site that is free to consumers. Google retains the right to put advertising on the map in the future. Please see the terms of use for more information.

It's smart of them. Google AdWords and AdSense is the primary revenue generator for them currently, so it makes sense to integrate their intelligent ad system into the maps tools that people will start creating and promoting.

You are required to sign up to make use of the API, and once confirmed you will have the ability to "legitimately" perform what we've to this point known as "hacks" since that is what developers have had to do to get into the Google Maps code and make these interesting tools. I'm hoping Google will create a nice way to showcase these, as keeping track of them is limited to tracking the launch of them the blogsphere at this point.

My question is this: With the arrival of the API, does this require the hacks to get "certified" with the API or risk Google telling them to shut it down? Does anyone know the answer to this?

The Google Maps API definitely ushers in a new era of Maps mashups.

Stay tuned.
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