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.
In the Maps Data announcement post, Google explained its decision to focus on Fusion Tables:
Earlier this year we launched a feature in the Google Maps API v3 that renders data stored in Fusion Tables, a Google Research project for storing large structured data sets in the cloud, which has an SQL based API, and recently gained support for spatial queries. The response both at developer events and online has been overwhelmingly positive. We have seen an explosion of compelling Maps applications that use Fusion Tables to store and visualise data.
Given this developer enthusiasm, and the fact that Fusion Tables addresses many of the features requested by developers for the Maps Data API, we have decided to recommend Fusion Tables as our cloud storage solution of choice for geospatial data going forward, and to deprecate the Maps Data API.
The one question is Google My Maps, the feature that lets anyone add locations to a map and share it with others. When the tool launched in 2007, we said the maps mashup landscape changed forever. Indeed, it still allows non-developers to easily edit locations visually. However, it also allowed developers to access the data via the soon-to-be-deprecated Google Maps Data API.
While Google has provided a way to download or transfer My Maps to Fusion Tables, it is not clear whether there will be a permanent connection between the two services. Fusion Tables does provide a simple table editing interface, which is a far cry from the simplicity of point-and-click.
The Maps Data API launched a year and a half ago, so it was a short-lived service. It joins three other deadpooled Google APIs. There's still high hopes for Fusion Tables to be the web's geo database we envisioned. If you want to know more about it, read this guest post from Google's Mano Marks: Four Ways Developers Can Use Google Fusion Tables.