Google Maps attracting varied applications

Google Maps attracting varied applications

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Melbourne, Australia, 11 October 2006: Enterprises looking to put a visual spin on their information systems can now turn to the very consumer oriented Google Maps.

Speaking at this year’s Australian Unix Users Group (AUUG) conference in Melbourne today, Google Australia’s Head of Engineering, Lars Rasmussen said since its launch early last year, Google Maps has attracted thousands of “mash up” applications that use the free Web service API to integrate third-party information.

One of Rasmussen’s favourites is the Seattle Bus Monster which displays the live location of buses, the location of bus stops, and estimated waiting times of buses on their routes around Seattle.

SMS messages can also be sent to a phone informing people when a bus is arriving. Many of the so-called “mashups” are using the free API which is a free beta service available for any Web site that consumers can access without charge, according to Google.

Rasmussen said the company also released an enterprise version of the API, because “a lot of people asked if they could pay money for it”. Google Maps for Enterprise was created for the maps API (Application Programming Interface) to be used on an intranet or in a non-publicly accessible application. The enterprise API comes with a guarantee of uptime and support from Google.

Rasmussen, one of the original creators of Google Maps, said when the company decided it was worth doing, his team didn’t have to argue over how much money it would cost because the idea was consistent with the philosophy of “if you can find large numbers of people to use something you can make money out of it”.