Friday, November 20, 2009

Important Google Maps Developer News

Google have announced that in a few weeks time they will be adding new functionality to the Google Maps API v2 that allows Google to log the location and content of the markers and/or infowindows that are displayed in Google Maps mashups. Google then plans to use the gathered data created by Google Maps developers within the main Google Maps site as 'search results'.

This could obviously have huge benefits for map developers. Presumably Google will acknowledge or link to the creators of this third party content which, in theory, should drive traffic from the main Google Maps site to the sites that created the content.

However I'm sure that there are a number of developers and web sites that won't want Google to reuse their content in this way. Therefore Google are allowing sites to opt out of sharing their content. Here is what the Google Geo Developers Blog says,

To ensure that this new feature doesn't cause any issues, we have put a few controls in place:
  1. We only index data from maps that have been viewed by many unique users. For example, maps only viewed by you and a few friends won't be indexed.
  2. If your page is protected by robots.txt, we will not index your content.
  3. You can opt-out of the logging by specifying "indexing=false" when loading the API.
  4. If you are a Maps API Premier customer, we will not index data from your maps, unless you opt into indexing by passing in "indexing=true".

The impact of this move on users of the main Google Maps site should of course be hugely beneficial. Now, as well as seeing local user created content, from Google My Maps and Mapplets, users of Google Maps will potentially be able to view content from the thousands of Google Maps mashups created using the Google Maps API.

Programmable Web
has recorded over 1,800 sites that use the Google Maps API. My guess is, however, that the number of websites using the Google Maps API runs into the tens of thousands. Therefore Google have a potentially enormous data set that they can leverage to enhance Google Maps as a product.

Via: Google Geo Developers Blog


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It could drive more traffic to one's site in theory, but in reality few users will click through if they have already found the information on Google's own map.

So in practice it will benefit mostly Google and drive away traffic from participating mashup sites.