Google announces embeddable Google Maps, traffic in Google Earth

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:

View Larger Map

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.

Good morning,

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).

6 thoughts on “Google announces embeddable Google Maps, traffic in Google Earth”

  1. The only problem I see is mostly flickr related. If you click on a waypoint you then get only part of the photograph. When I clicked on the photo it enlarged the photograph with no way to return to the map. The other thing I notice is that page widths will definately have to increase for this to be truly effective.

    Pretty cool, just a gripe.


  2. Oh that’s just me making a map that is too narrow for the image sizes. Next time I’d look for a KML file with smaller pics or a place for a wider map — those are just design issues that we users can manipulate.

  3. Your statement that this traffic feature was once only available in Google Maps is incorrect. It has been available for quite a while on Microsoft’s Live Maps site, built on Virtual Earth ( You can specifically pull up the traffic but it is also automatically displayed when you pull up driving directions for an area.

  4. The first thing that came to my mind when I read about the new embedding feature in Google Maps, was that it could be used to embed a map on my blog that has my geotagged photos on it.

    Appeantley, this is one of the major potential uses that google thought about as well. I’m basing this on the following paragraph from a google announcement about the embedding feature:

    “Users will find this feature helpful in many ways. For example,

    – 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.”

    This is a quote from a Google e-mail sent to and published by Ogle Earth.

    So google wants you to use their MyMaps feature to manually create a map with your photos, and then embed that on your site. This could be done much more easily using google’s own Picasa Web Albums. Currently, the Picasa desktop application lets you geotag your images. When you upload them to Picasa Web Album, you can view all the geotagged photos in your album by selecting “Map View.” This will show your photos on a google map, but without the “Link to this page” button. So you can only view your automatically made map with geotagged photos on Picasa Web Albums, but you can’t embed that map since it doesn’t have that button.

    If google doesn’t want the “Link to this page” button on Picasa Web Albums, an alternative would be to offer to create a MyMap from an existing Picasa Web Album. Meaning, you would go to Google Maps, chose to create a MyMap, but instead of using the placemark tools to create it, you would specify you want it to import a map from Picasa Web Albums.

    So either the Google Picasa Web Albums guys take the embedding “technology” from the Google Maps guys, or the Google Maps guys need to take the automatically created geotagged photos map from the Picasa Web Albums guys. But either way, these guys need to talk to each other!

    By the way, I did come up with a workaround to do this by yourself. In Picasa Web Albums, after selecting to view an album in “Map View,” there is an option to select to view your photos in Google Earth. This will open up a KML file. Instead of opening that file, right click that link and copy that auto-generated KML file’s address. Then, go to Google Maps and paste that address in the Search box (this is the way to open KML files in Google Maps). This will open up your Picasa Web Albums Map inside Google Maps, and then you could click on the embedding button to get the embedding source code.

    Is there someone who can get the word out to Google and tell them how quickly they could fix this and save their users the time to manually create maps with photos to put on their blogs?

  5. Stefan,

    This morning, I created a very simple, but useful plug-in for WordPress bloggers — that inserts the necessary code to add a Quicktag to the editor. It pops open a new browser window from within the editor, to Google Maps — where you can then create or generate a map using Google’s interface — and there you simply copy/paste the ’embed’ code into your post.

    It’s very simple, but a practical option in the editor for anyone interested.

    Download it, modify it, do whatever you wish with it.

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