Google APIs And Their Map Apps

Google Maps isn’t only for direction-seekers. The search giant has extended the use of Maps to let people build map apps on their own sites.

Since Google released its Google Maps APIs , the sites that showcase the mashups have been mushrooming.

And where mushrooming occurs, advertising potential isn’t far away. Of course it’s still too early to tell just how much potential there is. But money-making aside, developers say using the APIs is easy.

All interested parties need to do is sign up for an API key, tap their knowledge of JavaScript, then go to town on making a Google Map work for their site.

Just ask “Where’s Tim?”

Tim Hibbard used Google Maps APIs to put a map on his site that plots his exact location and speed. He calls it “Where’s Tim?”

The map is a publicity stunt for Tim’s company, EnGraph, to market its GPS-enabled transportation equipment. The mashup is creating a mix of interest from potential advertisers.

“I was just kind of playing around one day with Google Maps and it just kind of evolved into something huge,” Hibbard told

He said it only took him an hour to add the map data to his site. Now, the interest in potential advertising or marketing schemes is growing.

“We’ve been getting a lot of attention,” Hibbard said. “I talked to a company just this morning that wants to do some promotions. I talked to another company that has a truck going all over the United States and they want to use something like ‘Where’s Tim’ to get that going.”

If so, it would be one more dot to connect between Google Map APIs and the advertising it recently added to its local search results. Google’s search advertising is successful because so many searchers think “Google” first. Translate that to Maps and it becomes just another way Google can reap financial rewards.

But not everyone is interested in the money.

Dave Rheingold, creator of, has no interest in making money with his site; but Google gets play because its logo appears in his maps.

Visitors can watch live video streaming from a camera embedded in Rheingold’s glasses as he walks around New York City. They can also pinpoint Rheingold’s location on a Google Map located just to the right of the video feed.

Although Rheingold isn’t interested in making money, the potential is there: perhaps a cut to him the next time someone, or hundreds, remember his site and want to look up a local restaurant, or figure out which one to go to.

Google’s plan is to pay for it all (and maybe make some profit) with advertising. But that means users better use Google Maps and Earth the same way they use Google’s search engine — seemingly all the time.

It’s not clear yet whether consumers will ever become that habituated to the products. But you know where Tim and ShakinDave are. And you might just wonder tomorrow.

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