RealTime IT News

Developers Get Google For Mapplets

Google Mapplets is ready for its close up.

Google today opened the maps-based mini-applications platform to users weeks after announcing it at Where 2.0 and Google Developer Day.

Mapplets enables users to view and layer third-party information, such as real estate listings, jogging trails, events and photos, directly onto Google Maps.

Some of the Mapplets already available on Google Maps include a booking application from Orbitz and Booking.com, as well as others from WeatherBug, Webcams.travel, Zvents and GasBuddy.com. Users can access Mapplets by clicking the My Maps tab on Google Maps.

Google Maps Product Manager Thai Tran told internetnews.com that Google announced the platform a month ago to get apps developed in time for today's launch. He said that when Google announced the platform on Developer Day, it had 10 Mapplets to demo, most of which Google created itself.

In the last month, however, over a 100 developers have submitted mini-apps to the platform.

Tran said Google hopes developers will find ways to monetize apps on the Mapplets platform, creating an innovation cycle that will spin much faster than it would if only Google's development resources alone were set to the task of making Google Maps more useful.

"There are Mapplets for niche audiences that would be useful to significant numbers of users, but probably not to a level where Google could invest in building their features," he said.

The platform model has become popular, perhaps the most notable one being Facebook's recent platform launch. Apple, Microsoft and eBay are other companies that have also opened access to their customers to third parties in hopes of spurring innovation.