Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Not the New Google Maps API

There is a now a huge difference between the look and feel of Google Maps and applications created with the Google Maps API. Ever since the release of the new look Google Maps in April 2013 I've been expecting Google to release v4 of the Google Maps API, so that applications built on the API more closely resemble the design of the new look Google Maps.

The opening shot of 36 Hours and Google Maps seems to hint at what we can expect if Google ever get around to creating v4 of the Google Maps API. In fact when I first saw the rotatable globe set against a background starfield on 36 Hours I thought that it must have been created with a new Maps API.

The 3d Earth view in 36 Hours almost exactly replicates the experience of the zoomed-out new look Google Maps but I suspect it has been achieved with smoke and mirrors. You can rotate the globe and click on the map markers. However you don't seem to be able to zoom in and out. In fact when you do click on a marker on the globe the map is removed and replaced with a video of the globe zooming in on your selected location,

So 36 Hours is not a sneak preview of a new Google Maps API. However it is a nicely designed weekend guide to a number of global cities. 36 Hours and Google Maps is in fact a paid advertising feature on The New York Times. Presumably the main purpose of this promotion is to support the new Signed-in Maps feature in the Google Maps API.

36 Hours provides a number of interesting weekend guides to cities around the world. Select a city on the map and 36 Hours will take you through a planned weekend tour of the city, with suggestions for places where you can eat, drink and visit. Each of the locations featured in the city weekend guides include the Signed-in Maps feature. Therefore if you are signed-in to a Google account while using 36 Hours you can click on the 'Save to Google Maps' to add the location to your starred locations on the new look Google Maps.
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