Early release of Google Maps API Version 3

Posted on May 27, 2009

Today Google launched an early release of version 3 of the Maps API in Google Code Labs. Although the maps and functionality look similar to the current version 2 of the API, a lot has changed under the hood – as in your current version 2 based maps will not work in version 3. So to take advantage of V3 you will need to port your application over when the new API graduates from Labs. Be excited, don’t worry Google will “continue to support the current v2 API well after v3 matures and graduates from Labs

Why should you be interested in version 3? One really big reason; Speed – especially on mobile browsers. Obviously speed is really important for any application; especially a web-based application. In fact it is so important that Google considers it number 2 in their “Ten principles that contribute to a Googley user experience”. After all speed is one of the first things a user notices and remembers about an application.

This early release of Google Maps API V3, includes a smaller feature set than available on V2 for everyone to have a peak at what is coming, while they work on migrating functionality to this new framework. Although there is no quantification of how much faster the new API is we can still attempt to get an initial idea of this by comparing the sizes of the V2 and V3 API scripts that are loaded. The difference thus far is significant. For starters the script we are all used to embed in our mashups has been reduced to a 500B JavaScript file instead of the current 2KB file. Second, the main JavaScript component for V3 is sitting at 13KB today compared to 64KB for V2. Now understandably this will increase as more functionality is migrated but in their official announcement Google promises to keep the size small and maintain their optimized loading speeds. Size is not the only measure of high performance JavaScript yet keeping things small helps a lot.

What else does Google Maps API V3 have?

For the new API, Google is using an MVC-based architecture to significantly reduce the size of the API files being downloaded. Furthermore they let go of prefixing their variables with “G” such as “GMap2″ and “GMarker” in global scope and instead are using JavaScript namespaces. Everything is now in the google.maps namespace and that is why V2 based map applications would not work in V3. This is rather interesting since we have been using JavaScript namespaces when building our and your Google Maps application all along.

Google also reveals a few other enhancements in their official announcement today on the Google Geo Developers Blog including support for Chrome and Safari Mobile browsers, the overhaul of the Geocoding API and no API keys required.

With this new exciting announcement keep in mind that when the times comes we can help you. Our proven Google Maps Developers do not only build maps, we build high performance Google map applications. So if you are stuck with a “snail map”, connect with us, we can help you deliver a fast and interactive experience to your customers and users.

3 Responses to “Early release of Google Maps API Version 3”

  1. Kelly Brown
    Jun 12, 2009

    Hi, very nice post. I have been wonder’n bout this issue,so thanks for posting

  2. CrisBetewsky
    Jul 08, 2009

    Hello! Thanks for the post. It is really amazing! I will definitely share it with my friends.

  3. Symbian Software
    Jul 30, 2009

    I like my legendary N96. I found your blog on google and read a few of your other posts. I just added you to my Google News Reader. Look forward to reading more from you in the future.

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