What are you doing reading this blog? Go to Google Lat Long Blog where you can read the news that Google Earth has now gotten a default traffic layer that shows congestion in US cities, a feature previously found only in Google Maps.
Google Lat Long blog also carries the very welcome news that Google Maps are now embeddable!!! Yes, you can now stick the URL of a KML file published to the web (or generated dynamically) into the Google Maps search window, get a map back, click on “Link to this map” and get the code to embed the map on a web page. You can even customize the size of the map. Google isn’t first with this feature, but considering that it is Google who wrote the API that let others embed their map, that’s a moot point:-)
Without further ado, then, here is the KML file generated by a Yahoo Pipe of my geotagged Flickr photos taken on my recent Alpine hike uploaded into Google Maps and embedded into this post:
One immediate observation: Considering how easy it is to create such an embedded map, expect many more blogs to start adding maps to posts, ad hoc. I know I will. In fact, I’m itching to go redesign my personal blog right now.
Second: This is an inevitable improvement of the Google Maps service, but one which makes if more difficult for third-party mapping sites to differentiate themselves from Google’s in-house offering. It certainly keeps the pressure on third-party masher-uppers to keep innovating.
PS: Google sent via email a more detailed and more press release-ish announcement than what’s on the Google Lat Long Blog, and I’ve added it to the extended entry part of this post, below.
Starting today, Google Maps users can add a map to their website or
blog just by copying & pasting a snippet of HTML. This new
functionality enables Google Maps users to share and disseminate
geographic information in the same way that YouTube users share
videos. Bloggers and webmasters no longer need an API key or knowledge
of Java Script to put a Google Map on their website or blog.
To embed a Google Map, users simply pull up the map they want to embed
– it can be a location, a business, driving directions, or a My Map
they have created – and then click “Link to this page” and copy &
paste the HTML into their website or blog. The embedded map is fully
interactive, like the Google Maps API, but creating one does not
require any programming skills. Users can drag and click or zoom in on
a location, and view it in map, satellite, and hybrid modes.
Users will find this feature helpful in many ways. For example,
– business owners can now add a map of their business location to its
website, with links to directions and more information on Google Maps;
– bloggers can now write about a restaurant or a place they have
visited and embed a map of the location in the blog post itself; or
– individuals can update their personal websites by publishing maps of
geotagged vacation photos or creating sophisticated maps mashups using
the simple tools available in the My Maps tab.
The ability to embed maps is available for Google Maps users in the
US, the UK, Canada, Australia, Japan, France, Italy, Germany, Spain,
Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden and Russia. It
is available in the following languages: English, French, Italian,
German, Spanish, Dutch, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish, Russian,
Japanese, Catalan, Basque, Galician, Welsh, Faroese and Chinese (TW).