Google Google Google

There was so much news coming from or around Google I/O this month I decided to recap some of the salient points. Here’s the Geo related stuff:


  • Google has hired 300 temp workers to work on their map data. Several, myself included, questioned whether a crowdsourcing model for data where the crowd doesn’t actually get to have to data would work out. Maybe this is an indication that it isn’t.

  • The Google Maps API v3 has left the labs and is now the standard API, supplanting v2 which is now deprecated (along with Mapplets). New stuff includes traffic and bicycling layers, an elevation service, and optimized routing. The huge news is that Street View is now implemented completely in HTML - Flash is no longer required. Eat it Flash!

  • They (finally) have a directions API, so you can send a directions request, get the data back, and processes it however you want.

  • You can now style your maps with the v3 API. Check out their Styled Map Wizard for more details. Personally, I (a) love the idea of being able to decide which layers to show on a mashup, and (b) hate the idea that the color schemes on Google Maps mashup sites will be inconsistent. Their default map styling is so good they don’t have a legend and no cartographic body has moved to shoot them yet, they they’ll loose that consistency if people turn the base layer into seizure-inducing shades of pink.

  • Google released My Tracks GPS for Android as open source. This is really smart. What better way to help developers for Android make more and better LBS apps than to release the code of a great one.

And here’s some non-Geo stuff:


  • As previously covered, WebM was released.

  • Google released a Fonts API with 18 fonts. This is going to make fonts on web pages much, much easier. I’ll do a quick demo of this sometime.

  • Google Wave is now open to all comers and is available for Google Apps users.

  • Google App Engine now has a RESTful storage service, which competes with services like Amazon S3.

  • Google Android 2.2 was announced, which should offer a number of performance improvements with a new JIT compiler.

  • Google TV. Eh.

Did you know they gave the attendees a free high-end Android phone?! The cost of attending the conference was only $400. I’m not saying we’re getting screwed at big GIS conferences. OK, yes I’m saying that.