Yesterday at Where 2.0, Google made the announcement that they were takin’ maps to the streets with their new street view functionality.  This new feature seemed to take all the spotlight and hardly any attention was given to “Mapplets” which was also announced.




I think Mapplets will end up being more useful that you might think.  They’re mini-webpages served inside an IFrame within Google Maps site that will allow users to create their own mapping mash-ups. A variety of different programming languages are put to use in the mini-webpages including Javascript, Flash, and HTML. From a directory of offerings, users will be able to select the content (gadgets) that they want included.

Give Mapplets a try:

To try out Mapplets, go here. You’ll notice that you’re on a “Mapplets” tab.  On that page, click “browse content.” This is where you’ll find all of the options that you have to choose from. 

Googlemapplets2

I selected three different “gadgets” that I wanted to include:

  • Gas Prices from gasbuddy.com
  • Weather Bug
  • Movie Showtimes

There’s a variety of content that you can add, and multiple mashups can appear on one page. Once you’ve made your selections, you can go back to Google Maps to put them to good use.

The image below shows what my map looked like when I checked that I only wanted to display Gas Prices. Gas Prices on my map are marked with a green marker. By clicking on the marker it will display the address for the gas station, and what the gas price is.

Googlemapplets

In the image above, I selected only to display gas prices, however, I could have also selected Weather bug, and Movie Showtimes, and it would have displayed all of the information on my map with each item color-coded accordingly. All it takes is a simple check-mark to activate or de-activate the content.

Marketing Opportunities?

This really gives developers the chance to get creative with their own Mapplets.  And because anybody can create a Mapplet, I could see retailers and other companies creating one to market themselves. For example, it could be used to point out an awesome sale at a shoe store, or cheap burgers at a restaurant.  Those loyal customers who decided to select the store or restaurant gadget would have a heads-up on when to stop in for the best deals.

The list of content options will only continue to get longer. Besides the gadgets that I included, there’s a list of 23 different options (here) currently.I never imagined we’d see maps getting as customized and advanced as they have, and I can only imagine what’s coming next.

Info for developers

Source: Mashable