Today at Google I/O, Google has made several announcements for geo developers. To sum:
- Google is pushing the Maps API into mobile (and performance is a big part of the push)
- Geolocation is going to be a part of every Google product eventually
- Android is being backed by deep pockets
- Google is preparing an army of Qualified Developers to bring more them more API customers.
More details are below. I chatted with Pamela Fox of the Google Geo team about the announcements.
Flash API with 3D – This upcoming release adds the ability to add a 3D perspective to Google’s existing Flash Maps API. It’s not a full blown implementation of the Google Earth API PLugin which provides Google Earth level 3D in the browser. Instead this release allows you to tilt the maps and play with perspective. The screenshot above shows how you can tilt the map on its canvas. As Pamela said during the demo “we hope it’s useful when you need 3D, but the Google Earth’s 3D is overkill.” (paraphrased – she said it much better in the session)
Qualified Developer – Google has expanded their Qualified Developer program to include Maps. Very soon the team will be releasing a semi self-serve process for getting the Google seal of approval on your Google Geo API skills. The qualification process will be a test (in the process of being written), referrals, sample code and your participation in the developer forums. Your qualification status will help you stand out in the Google Solutions Marketplace.
Client Location on Google Maps – At both Google I/O and Where 2.0 Google showed the ability to locate yourself when on Google Maps. By default it geolocates you by IP, but if you have Gears it will take advantage of Gear’s Geolocation API. The feature will show up in the mapping controls as a blue dot. No word on when this feature will be released. I hope this feature eventually becomes available in the Maps API.
Android Developer Challenge V2 – Google has announced V2 of its Android Developer Contest. They’ll be awarding prizes across multiple categories including geo-friendly ones like Travel and Productivity. The winners will be chosen mid-November.
Of these announcements I find the Qualified Developer program to be the most significant. By certifying developers Google will be enabling developer to get more Google more API customers. The program started last year with Gadgets Ads. Once they work the kinks out I am sure that this program will extend to every API that Google has and will be quite the moneymaker for the participating devs.