In what has been a busy day of announcements about new features for the Google Maps API we have two more:
The Google Places Web Service
The Places Web Service is a new web service Google will launch in July, 2010.
The Google Places Web Service is a service that returns information about a 'place' using an HTTP request.
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.
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.
You don't need to use the Directions Web Service with Google Maps. In fact you don't even need a Google Maps API key to use the service.
Via: Google Geo Developers Blog