Google has finally outed version 3 of its Google Maps API with a firm focus on mobile compatibility and speed improvements. It’s been significantly revamped from version 2 due to problems with latency, so mashups created in the current API release will have to be re-coded. Version 3 is an early release, still in its Labs phase, so there are a few things to work out. Here are the major changes from the Google Geo Developers blog:
- Chrome and iPhone Safari mobile added to our supported browsers. Your mashups will also work on Android-based phones with the recent update, but you may notice some issues, like the “View/Save Image” dialog showing unexpectedly. We’re working with the Android team to fix this and improve the end user’s experience in interacting with the map. We could’ve waited until it’s perfect, but we really wanted to get an early release in your hands and start getting feedback while we fix up a few remaining issues.
- No keys required. You can now copy ‘n paste code easily or embed in RSS readers, for example, without getting key errors.
- Default UI is enabled automatically. We’ll provide default UI controls and behavior (and we’ll update them) so your mashup can keep up with the latest and greatest changes we make to Google Maps. Of course, if you’ve got customized controls you’re happy with, you can disable the default UI updates.
- Namespaces. Everything is always in the google.maps.* namespace and there is no “G” prefixed variables in the global scope.
- Geocoding API has been overhauled based on the feedback we’ve received with the existing implementation over the past three years.
There’s a big push toward mobile phone compatibility with Google Maps API version 3 which is great. I’m really looking forward to seeing how mashups will evolve in the mobile space. Version 2 will continue to work just fine and be updated even after version 3 gets an official launch, so no rush to re-code unless you’re looking for faster map rendering.