Google Maps Platform

15 years of collaboration: new features and what’s next from Google Maps Platform

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This month 15 years ago, just a few months after the Google Maps website rolled out in 2005, we launched the Google Maps API. We quickly saw an explosion of what were then called Google Maps ”mashups”–when a developer mashed together a specific dataset with a Google map and placed the resulting map and data on a website. It sounds simple now, but you told us almost immediately that the Maps API unlocked opportunities for your projects and businesses to grow, new industries to emerge, and existing industries to transform. You’ve even helped us have some fun along the way. 


Now Google Maps Platform doesn’t just give you the opportunity to add a map to your site or app. It empowers one of the longest standing and largest Google developer communities, supports more than 5 million projects from businesses of all sizes, and contributes to an ecosystem of innovative partners around the world. Looking back at 15 years of collaboration with our community of developers, customers, and partners, it’s been quite a ride–one that wouldn’t have been possible without all of you. 


On behalf of the entire Google Maps Platform team, I’d like to thank you all for going on this ride with us. Now we’re setting out on the next leg of our journey and more deeply committing to helping you drive innovation for you, your customers, and your industries. Today’s announcements are a first step toward delivering what you need now, for the next 15 years, and beyond.


Powering contextual experiences

We’re expanding the capabilities of our products to enable you to deliver more contextualized experiences to your customers. First, based on your feedback, we’re introducing new Maps customization features that enable you to manage your map styles from the cloud and give your end users richer context on your maps. Combined, these features give you greater control over how many and which types of POIs are shown on your maps, the flexibility to update your maps without code changes, and the consistency of updating your maps in near real-time across all platforms and devices. 


We’ve also brought together the best of Maps, Routes and Places to create a simple way to add Google’s rich, local information to your maps, so you can help your users confidently decide which hotel to book, what homes to tour, and more. Local Context is a turnkey experience that lets you show accurate details for nearby places so users can see ratings, reviews, photos, and directions without ever leaving your web app or site. Plus, you can customize it to fit your business needs and brand. 


The Maps customization features provide new ways to customize and update your maps, while Local Context combines those Maps capabilities with Places and Routes to make it easier for you to build contextual experiences that exceed your users’ expectations.  


Expanding industry solutions

For the past two years we’ve been working with a limited group of game studios to bring the real world to mobile games. Today we’ve made our earliest industry solution for gaming available to everyone–all game studios, independent game developers, and others who want to experiment with what immersive location based experiences can do for their business. We’ll continue to invest in our industry solutions, expanding to serve more industries over time. Stay tuned. 


More tooling and resources for developers

To make it faster and easier for developers to build, we’re improving our tooling and resources. For Android, we’ve recently released v1 of a new open source Kotlin Extensions library to better support Android developers who have gone Kotlin-first. For iOS we’ve added distribution of the Maps SDK for iOS and iOS Utility Library via Carthage. These are just the first of what we have planned this year to better support Kotlin, Swift, and JavaScript developers. For those of you getting started with Google Maps Platform for the first time, we’ve published new beginner-level Codelabs to help you with Maps for JavaScript, Android, and iOS.


For the next 15 years and beyond, we’ll continue learning from you and working to deliver the best possible Google Maps Platform experience. We’re committed to ensuring data quality and the reliable service that’s vital to your operations and success. We’ll continue finding new ways to improve the developer experience and creating channels for you to share your feedback with us–so we can take on the next 15 years together. 

Visit us here to learn more about our latest announcements and look back at 15 years of collaboration with Google Maps Platform. You can also follow us on Twitter and subscribe to our YouTube channel to stay up to date on what’s new with Google Maps Platform and our developer community. 


Thank you again for taking this journey with us. We can’t wait to see what you build next.