Google Creates Its Own Mashups

Adam DuVander
Jul. 22 2009, 12:05AM EDT

Google popularized mashups when it released its Maps API four years ago. About one in five mashups uses a map, with Google's being the most popular choice. From time to time, Google creates its own mashups, too.

The company released a gadget to make embedding driving directions easier. When the destination is known (say, on a museum website), it can be hard-wired into the gadget. Then the code can be embedded on any web page and it will show up as a small tool. Users type their addresses and the directions appear right on the page.

I'm Going to Graceland - Google Directions gadget

It's clever. It's useful. And it's already pretty to easy to do with their API. So, why are they in the business of creating mashups?

Because not everyone is a developer. Just like when Google unleashed My Maps, the company is making it easy for anyone to go geo. That makes it more likely that the mom and pop restaurant owners will use a Google Map. So, Google gets more location data, directly from the source (ie, a restaurant owner). That pays dividends in improving their local search.

It's not such a bad thing for Google that this also undercuts some of MapQuest's enterprise offerings. If there's another similar mashup in Google's future, hopefully it will involve some good store locators.

Cold Stone store locator

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.

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