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Yahoo to shut down maps APIs

US: Yahoo will shut down its mapping APIs on September 13, 2011, announced Yahoo on its blog. The company is now suggesting developers to migrate to Nokia’s Ovi Maps API.

As per the company’s press statement, in order to focus on the core strengths and deliver new innovations, Yahoo is reprioritising its portfolio of products and services – increasing investment in some areas while scaling back in others. Along with the Maps API, several supporting APIs will also die. Remaining geo APIs are the Yahoo Placefinder API, Yahoo Placemaker API and Yahoo Local Search API.

According to a report published on ProgrammableWeb.com, Yahoo is no stranger to these sorts of shutdowns. In December 2010, it pulled the plug on a still-vibrant Delicious. Based on tremendous user feedback, the company sold Delicious to the founders of YouTube to spin off as a new company.

The report observed that it is a shame to see Maps go, since it was once a promising developer property at Yahoo. Yahoo announced its mapping API in 2005, the same day as Google’s. Some of the earlier popular mashups, such as Google vs Yahoo Maps show that it wasn’t so obvious back then which to use.

However, the current Yahoo Maps API is so far behind the times, that it’s almost better to just be clear. There are many better options now and nostalgia is no reason to keep around a platform that is no longer being updated. The latest version, 3.8, has been around at least since 2008.

The partnership with Nokia was the first sign that Yahoo was preparing to offload mapping. However, while Yahoo Maps proper is powered by Ovi Maps, this is the first announcement that Yahoo would refer developers to Ovi.

Source: ProgrammableWeb.com and Yahoo