Google Maps Platform

What’s next for Google Maps Platform

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One year ago we announced the launch of Google Maps Platform and laid out our plan to offer the next generation of our Maps, Routes, and Places offerings. Since then, we’ve been hard at work continuing to deliver on the promise of a world-class platform that meets the needs of the smallest startups to the largest global enterprises. No matter what you’re building, we’re committed to providing you with the tools and services you need to do it.

Where we’ve been
Behind the scenes, we spent the last twelve months increasing the stability, reliability, and performance of the platform to guarantee we meet our 99.9% uptime SLA. Today, Google Maps Platform is a truly enterprise-grade platform that you can rely on to provide data for over 150,000,000 places, routes that cover 40 million miles of road, and maps that cover 99% of the world.

On the product side, we made expert support available to everyone, launched upgraded Places SDKs, and continued to improve our real-world gaming and ridesharing offerings. This dramatically increased access to direct support, delivered more Places data like opening hours and plus codes, and enabled some awesome gaming and ridesharing integrations by our partners.

It was a busy year. We spent a lot of time listening to your feedback, launched some important changes and improvements, and laid the groundwork for the future. But we know we’re far from done.

Where we are
Today we’re excited to make two announcements: initial support for WebGL-powered data visualization with the open source deck.gl library, and beta release of the next version of the Maps SDK for Android.

deck.gl Support

A common thing we’ve heard from developers is they need to visualize large datasets and make it look beautiful. Performant rendering of hundreds or even thousands of data points just doesn’t cut it anymore. Enter deck.gl, an open source data visualization library that renders hundreds of thousands of data points with WebGL, and was specifically designed for mapping.

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At Google, we’ve got a long history of contributing to open source, so we jumped at the chance to work with the deck.gl team to add support for our Maps JavaScript API. Initial deck.gl support is available now. Read more about usage and features in the deck.gl documentation and how we partnered with their team to make deck.gl support for Google Maps Platform happen on the vis.gl blog.

Maps SDK for Android Beta Release

A little-known fact about the Maps SDK for Android is that it isn’t built on entirely the same infrastructure as the Google Maps mobile app. This has caused challenges in bringing more of the features you’ve asked for from Google Maps to Google Maps Platform. So we decided to change that, and after months of refactoring and improvements, we’re announcing the beta release of the next version of the Maps SDK for Android.

First off, please give it a try by following the steps in our migration guide. This is a beta release, and we rely on your feedback in our Issue Tracker to help us exit beta as quickly as possible with a healthy, happy, bug-free SDK.  

A fundamental change is that future versions of the Maps Android for SDK will not be distributed as part of Google Play Services. This is an important step that makes migration to a common platform with the Google Maps mobile app possible, and means better performance and feature support in the future for you. This change also allows us to release new features and fixes to you as they become available, and gives you more control over when you adopt new releases.

We also expect a 60% decrease in Maps-related data consumption for end users of most apps that adopt the beta. This release also includes fixes for over 65 top issues reported by the developer community (please keep those bug reports coming!), and we’re working on some other exciting things for the Maps SDK for Android.

Where we’re going
From new features across Maps, Routes, and Places, to continued backend improvements, to increased performance and reliability, to more content and code samples to help you use the platform, our goal is to ensure we’re building the platform in a way that works for you.

We’ve got a lot planned for the next year, and we can’t wait to see what you build.

Happy mapping!