Google Maps API v3 Goes Into Production

Adam DuVander
May. 19 2010, 01:10PM EDT

After nearly a year with two mapping platforms running in parallel, Google announced today that Google Maps V3 had graduated from Google Code Labs to become the primary maps API. Previously the newer version was recommended for mobile applications, the original reason behind the platform rewrite. With V3's graduation, V2 becomes deprecated, but will continue to work for now.

Upon the launch of V3 we wrote that it was "developed from the ground up as a modularized set of JavaScript libraries focused on improving load speed and performance." Embedded maps on mobile devices, such as iPhones and Android, were slower than sluggish, but V3 performed well. Developers also noticed speed improvements on non-mobile devices and many have started using V3 over V2, even before the official announcement.

Google has added new takes on V2 services to the V3 API, such as driving directions in November. Recently, new features, like elevation data, have come to only V3, which prompted us to write that Google "could either be signaling that V3 is the way forward or that elevation data is of more use to users on the go." The trend continued with Google adding a bicycling layer only to V3.

Along with V3's graduation comes another feature from V2: StreetView, the 360 degree photos available in many cities. Instead of using a Flash player, the V3 implementation uses standard HTML. Google said the reason for the move away from Flash is to support devices like the iPhone.

It's been a good, long life for V2, which was released over four years ago. It's hard to believe now, but at the time it didn't even have a geocoder to convert addresses to coordinates. Still, during that period we saw most of the 1,964 map mashups built on Google Maps. It is perennially the most popular type of mashup.

If you're rewriting code to support V3, you might consider taking the opportunity to use Mapstraction, an open source library that works with a dozen mapping APIs. We wrote about the Mapstraction sandbox a year ago. You can use Google Maps (V2 and V3) via Mapstraction and easily switch to other providers. It's a useful way to plan ahead, because who knows how different Google Maps V4 will be.

Adam DuVander Hi! I'm Developer Communications Director for SendGrid and former Executive Editor of ProgrammableWeb. I currently serve as a Contributing Editor. If you have API news, or are interested in writing for ProgrammableWeb, please contact editor@programmableweb.com Though I'm a fan of anything API-related, my particular interest is in mapping. I've published a how-to book, Map Scripting 101, to get anyone started making maps on websites. In a not-so-distant past life I wrote for Wired and Webmonkey.

Comments

Comments(9)

[...] Now at Four Days20+ Google JavaScript APIs in One PlaygroundProgrammableWeb Joins Alcatel-LucentGoogle Maps API v3 Goes Into ProductionHow Twitter's 1 API Gave Birth to 43 New APIsGoogle Says Goodbye to API Keys with New Geocoding API5 [...]

[...] Google will deprecate its Google Maps Data API in January, lending support instead to its popular new Google Fusion Tables API. Both store geographic data and allow developers to access it programmatically. The move to discontinue support of the Maps Data API does not affect the Google Maps API, the third version of which Google sent into production in May. [...]

Personally having tested the API V3 version from Google, I intregrated the new ViaMichelin V2 API, which is more accurate then the enterprise and works with IE6 and above too.

I did try Bing, though the support was awful. Google is okay but it's only a LITE version and not the full package I need for my business.

[...] Company politics may have played a role, too. In May 2010, Yahoo partnered with Nokia to make its maps “powered by Ovi,” the brand for the communication company’s Internet services. Still, Yahoo’s flagship maps site won’t go away. It will simply use Nokia’s technology. Yahoo could have made a similar decision, wrapping its APIs around Ovi. Instead, developers are simply given a link and an implied “good luck.” Developers making the move from Yahoo should seriously consider Mapstraction to save a re-write the next time they need to switch providers. Even moving between versions of the same API can be a paid, as developers discovered when Google Maps deprecated V2. [...]