Google has announced that has begun rolling out the Place API that it unveiled in May at the Google I/O 2010 developers' conference. Some developers who have expressed interest in the API will be contacted and granted access. The roll-out will focus on applications that offer ‘check-in’ functionality initially, while other types of apps will be catered to when the API is mature enough.
“We have seen applications that offer check-in to places and need to identify an individual place at which a user is currently located, applications looking to show a user Places around them, and applications looking to offer a search and browse experience for Places similar to that offered on Google Maps,” Thor Mitchell, Maps API Product Manager, writes.
“We are going to focus initially on check-in applications. These are the applications that we feel the API currently caters to well, and we are excited to work with developers building these applications to understand their requirements, and ensure that we are offering them the best possible experience,” he adds.
Location-based services are all the rage right now and for good reason. The increased popularity of smartphones coupled with better mobile internet connections made it viable for apps and services to take advantage of location data.
One popular use of this has been with services which enable you to ‘check into’ a location, like Foursquare and Gowalla. But one issue that these type of services face is the need for comprehensive data on ‘places’ around the world something that is not cheap or easily accessible. This is where the Places API comes in. Google has amassed a great collection of data for Google Maps and Places and it will now allow developers to tap into it, for free. The only caveat is that developers are required to have a valid AdSense account to be eligible.