Google Maps API ads layer now active

I’ve not seen an official annoucement yet, but this Google Groups post by Pamela Fox indicates that the ads layer has been released.

This layer will allow you to put AdSense inside of your Google Maps that you generate via the API.  The ads will be for things like hotels, with your placemarks all around in their normal locations.  Here is a sample of what an ad looks like:
Google Maps API ad

It’ll be interesting to see how this works out.  I’ll have to try it out on some sites of mine and see what it does.

Some confusion about the new AdSense feature using the Google Maps API

As I mentioned yesterday, you’ll soon be able to monetize Google Maps using built-in support for AdSense.  It’s quite slick.  However, I’ve noticed a number of blogs talking about an article about this on InfoWorld today, all of whom have a couple of key facts wrong.

First, InfoWorld says that mapplets can be monetized using this new AdSense for Maps API feature.  This is not true.  The AdSense for API coming out this month will only work on Maps mashups that you are hosting on your own sitenot for mapplets.  After the Google Developer Day, I asked a few Google employees about AdSense on mapplets and I was told that they are considering adding it at some point in the future, but not anytime soon.

The problem is that mapplets incorporate a lot of different datasets into one.  Who gets the revenue from the ads if six different sites are contributing data?  There are some issues like that for them to work out.  For the normal Maps API it’s much simpler – it’s your site, so do whatever you want with the ads.  It makes sense.

The other confusing point in the InfoWorld article talks about how those ads are displayed.  They say “When the icon is passed over, information appears in the pop-up window“.   Passed over?  No, the word they were looking for is “clicked”.

The AdSense icons will be very similar to normal icons in Google Maps, at least in behavior.  If you click on the icon the info bubble pops-up.  If you click the ad in the info bubble, the site gets paid.   There’s no “passing over” that is involved here.

I hope that helps clear this up.

The state of Google Maps

It’s been quite a week for Google Maps.  Where 2.0 and the Google Developer Day last week brought a flurry of new announcements.   I’ll run through them all for you:

Driving directions for the API

You can now use driving directions on your API maps.  Not only can you do full directions, but you can capture each step and output it any way that you want, or you can include waypoints in there.  It’s quite powerful.

Google Mapplets

As Google puts it, it allows you to create a “mashup of mashups”.  Right now it’s kind of tucked away on their site, but you can find it here.  I liken it very much to the layers feature of Google Earth.  You can take seemingly unrelated content and layer it on top of one another to create a more useful map.  At the Developer Day they showed examples of real estate info, mixed with schools, mixed with crime data, mixed with local transit.  Having the other data available made the real estate info more useful.

As this feature gains popularity it will also become much more useful.

Street View

You’ve undoubtedly heard about this already.   Google just released “Street Views” for Google Maps.  It’s quite slick, allowing you to see tons of street-level imagery, but it’s so far only available in five cities (San Francisco, New York City, Las Vegas, Denver and Miami).  Mike Pegg at Google Maps Mania has a nice write-up about it.

AdSense Integration

Google announced this at Developer Day, but it’s still about a month away.  With just a couple extra lines of JavaScript, Maps mash-ups will be able to contain AdSense placemarks.  They’ll show up on the map automatically (such as the location of nearby hotels) and the developer will get paid if a user clicks through for more info — just like a normal AdSense ad.  The integration looks quite slick, so it’ll be interesting to see how this works once it’s released.

KML support

Google has been ramping up their support for KML files in maps, and that’ll be increasing a few weeks.  Right now, the maps will blow up if you give it more than a few hundred placemarks in a KML.  However, within “a couple weeks” you’ll be able to load massive numbers of files and Google will deal with it.  They’ll show the “most relevant” items when zoomed out, then include more and more as users zoom in.  It’s similar to how most mash-ups work now, but it’ll make the development of those mash-ups much easier, assuming the relevancy is worked out well.

There’s much to be excited about with Google Maps.  If I missed anything, please let me know.