Category Archives: Geo Developers Blog

Google Geo Developers Blog

Removing Place Add, Delete & Radar Search features

Back in 2012, we launched the Place Add / Delete feature in the Google Places API to enable applications to instantly update the information in Google Maps’ database for their own users, as well as submit new places to add to Google Maps. We also introduced Radar Search to help users identify specific areas of interest within a geographic area.

Unfortunately, since we introduced these features, they have not been widely adopted, and we’ve recently launched easier ways for users to add missing places. At the same time, these features have proven incompatible with future improvements we plan to introduce into the Places API.

Therefore, we’ve decided to remove the Place Add / Delete and Radar Search features in the Google Places API Web Service and JavaScript Library. Place Add is also being deprecated in the Google Places API for Android and iOS. These features will remain available until June 30, 2018. After that date, requests to the Places API attempting to use these features will receive an error response.

Next steps

We recommend removing these features from all your applications, before they are turned down at the end of June 2018.

Nearby Search can work as an alternative for Radar Search, when used with rankby=distance and without keyword or name. Please check the Developer's Guide for more details, in the Web Service or Places library in the Google Maps JavaScript API.

The Client Libraries for Google Maps Web Services for Python, Node.js, Java and Go are also being updated to reflect the deprecated status of this functionality.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, but we hope that the alternative options we provide will still help meet your needs. Please submit any questions or feedback to our issue tracker.

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Posted by Fontaine Foxworth, Product Manager, Google Maps APIs

Get your users where they need to go on any platform with Google Maps URLs

Last week at Google I/O we announced Google Maps URLs, a new way for developers to link directly to Google Maps from any app. Over one billion people use the Google Maps apps and sites every month to get information about the world, and now we're making it easier to leverage the power of our maps from any app or site.

Why URLs?

Maps can be important to help your users get things done, but we know sometimes maps don't need to be a core part of your app or site. Sometimes you just need the ability to complete your users’ journey—including pointing them to a specific location. Maybe they're ready to buy from you and need to find your nearest store, or they want to set up a meeting place with other users. All of these can be done easily in Google Maps already.

What you can do is use Google Maps URLs to link into Google Maps and trigger the functionality you or your users need automatically. Google Maps URLs are not new. You've probably noticed that copying our URLs out of a browser works—on some platforms. While we have Android Intents and an iOS URL Scheme, they only work on their native platforms. Not only is that more work for developers, it means any multi-user functionality is limited to users on that same platform.

Cross platform

So to start, we needed a universal URL scheme we could support cross-platform—Android, iOS, and web. A messaging app user should be able to share a location to meet up with their friend without worrying about whether the message recipient is on Android or iOS. And for something as easy as that, developers shouldn't have to reimplement the same feature with two different libraries either.

So when a Google Maps URL is opened, it will be handled by the Google Maps app installed on the user's device, whatever device that is. If Google Maps for Android or iOS is available, that's where the user will be taken. Otherwise, Google Maps will open in a browser.

Easy to use

Getting started is simple—just replace some values in the URL based on what you're trying to accomplish. That means we made it easy to construct URLs programmatically. Here are a few examples to get you started:

Say someone has finished booking a place to stay and need figure out how to get there or see what restaurants are nearby:
https://www.google.com/maps/search/?api=1&query=sushi+near+94043
The query parameter does what it says: plugs a query in. Here we've specified a place, but if you do the same link with no location it will search near the user clicking it. Try it out: click here for sushi near you.

This is similar to our query above, but this time we got back a single result, so it gets additional details shown on the page:
google.com/maps/search/?api=1&query=shoreline+amphitheatre
The api parameter (mandatory) specifies the version of Maps URLs that you're using. We're launching version 1.


Or if a user has set up their fitness app and want to try out a new route on their bike:
www.google.com/maps/dir/?api=1&destination=stevens+creek+trail&travelmode=bicycling&dir_action=navigate
We can specify the travelmode to bicycling, destination to a nearby bike trail, and we're done!

And we can also open StreetView directly with a focus of our choice to give a real sense of what a place is like:
www.google.com/maps/@?api=1&map_action=pano&viewpoint=36.0665,-112.0906&heading=85&pitch=10&fov=75
The viewpoint is a LatLng coordinate we want to get imagery for, and heading, pitch, and fov allows you to specify exactly where to look.

Need more functionality?

Google Maps URLs are great to help your users accomplish some tasks in Google Maps. However, when you need more flexibility, customization, or control, we recommend integrating Google Maps into your app or site instead. This is where our more powerful Google Maps APIs come into play. With our feature-rich range of APIs, you can access full functionality and can control your camera, draw shapes on the map, or style your maps to match your apps, brand, or just for better UI. And if you want to go beyond the map we have metadata on Places, images, and much more.

Learn more

When you're happy to delegate the heavy lifting and make use of the Google Maps app for your needs, Maps URLs are for you. Check out our new documentation.

Thank you for using Google Maps URLs and the Google Maps APIs! Be sure to share your feedback or any issues in the issue tracker.

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Posted by Joel Kalmanowicz, Product Manager, Google Maps APIs

Google Maps and Particle partner to bring location-aware capabilities to IoT devices



Particle and Google Maps make it easy for IoT devices to identify their location without the use of a GPS. With a single line of code, a device or sensor dispersed across a network (an IoT edge device) can access Google’s geospatial database of Wi-Fi and cellular networks using the Google Maps Geolocation API.

This means you no longer need to invest in expensive and power hungry GPS modules to know the location of their IoT devices and sensors. Alternatively, you can also use Google Maps APIs in conjunction with existing GPS systems to increase accuracy and provide location data even when GPS fails, as it often does indoors.

Particle and Google now provide the whole chain—location aware devices that send context rich data to Google Cloud Platform. When IoT sensors know their location, the information they collect and send back becomes more contextualized, allowing you to make more informed, high-order decisions. By feeding context-rich data back into Google Cloud Platform, you have access to robust set of cloud products and services.

Although asset tracking is traditionally built on a foundation that includes GPS, satellite based GPS often fails in dense urban environments and indoors. In these scenarios, GPS signals are blocked by tall buildings or roofs. The Geolocation API is based on cell tower and Wi-Fi signals that continue to operate where GPS fails. This capability allows you to track your assets anywhere, both indoor and out.

In an IoT driven world, you can track more than just location. Additional signals can be critical to your objectives. For example, in the cold supply chain, temperature as well as location are key pieces of data to track in the factory, on the loading dock and in transit. This enables a holistic view of the supply chain and its ability to deliver a high quality product.
With a Wi-Fi enabled product built on the Particle platform, you can use the Google Maps Geolocation API to offer location aware auto configuration. This creates a seamless setup experience, enhanced operation and valuable analytics. Using geolocation your Particle devices can auto configure timezone, tune to available broadcast bands and connect to regional service providers.

For example, location aware window blinds can reference the number of available hours of sunlight and then make informed decision on how to passively heat a room. A smart coffee machine can report back its location allowing your marketing teams to better understand its market penetration and target demographic.

Visit the documentation for full directions to enable geolocation on your Particle devices. There are four basic steps to complete:

  1. Get a Google Maps API key enabled for Geolocation.
  2. Flash the Google Maps Firmware on your Particle Devices.
  3. Enable the Google Maps Integration in the Particle Console.
  4. Test it Out!

Google and Particle will be demoing the integration at IoT World beginning May 16. Stop by booth #310 near the main hall entrance to see the demo in person or for more information, review our developer documentation and get started today.

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About Ken: Ken is a Lead on the Industry Solutions team. He works with customers to bring innovative solutions to market.

Introducing structured menus in the Google My Business API

Every day, millions of people search on Google for places to eat and drink and many click to see the menu before making a decision. In fact, the Google search interest in "menu" related queries has seen a 30% increase in the last 2 years*. For businesses, this means they need to provide useful and relevant information to their customers in these moments that matter.

Last December, we enabled Menu URL editing in the Google My Business API allowing businesses to control and manage their menu link on Google Maps and Search. Starting today, businesses that use the Google My Business API can publish their entire menu to Google —itemized with descriptions, photos and prices--making it frictionless for their customers to view their menus on Google.

Arby’s, the quick-serve fast-food sandwich restaurant chain, was one of the first to take advantage of this feature and publish their full menu to Google. Now customers who search on Google for Arby’s can find accurate and up-to-date menu information provided by Arby’s as well as photos of those menu items.

"We update our menu every month with new and limited time offers. With the new Google My Business Menu feature we now have control over our menu data. We are able to provide our menu updates directly to Google via the Yext platform, and our updated menu populates on Google almost instantly. We no longer have to worry about old, unavailable menu items from third party sites showing up." said Sonja Uppal, Arby’s Digital Marketing Supervisor.

Developers can now use the Google My Business API to publish menu data to each of their business locations and see it update on Google in minutes. They’ll be able to publish multiple menus (e.g. breakfast, lunch, dinner) with sections (e.g. salads, entrees, dessert, drinks) that include individual menu items, each with a rich description, photo and price. It's easy to get started with our new developer documentation.

Here's a simple JSON request that shows how to publish a simple breakfast menu to a location:

REQUEST:
PATCH
https://mybusiness.googleapis.com/v3/123456/locations/
654321?languageCode=en-US&fieldMask=priceLists

 {
  "priceLists": [
    {
      "priceListId": "Breakfast",
      "labels": [
        {
          "displayName": "Breakfast",
          "description": "Tasty Google Breakfast",
          "languageCode": "en-US"
        }
      ],
      "sourceUrl": "http://www.google.com/todays_menu",
      "sections": [
        {
          "sectionId": "entree_menu",
          "labels": [
            {
              "displayName": "Entrées",
              "description": "Breakfast Entrées",
              "languageCode": "en-US"
            }
          ],
          "items": [
            {
              "itemId": "scramble",
              "labels": [
                {
                  "displayName": "Big Scramble",
                  "description": "A delicious scramble filled with Potatoes, Eggs, 
                  Bell Peppers, and Sausage",
                  "languageCode": "en-US"
                }
              ],
              "price": {
                "currencyCode": "USD",
                "units": "12",
                "nanos": "200000000"
              },
              "photoUrls": [
                "http://www.google.com/images/breakfast_scramble1.jpg",
                "http://www.google.com/images/breakfast_scramble2.jpg"
              ]
            },
            {
              "itemId": "steak_omelette",
              "labels": [
                {
                  "displayName": "Steak Omelette",
                  "description": "Three egg omelette with grilled prime rib, 
                   fire-roasted bell peppers and onions, saut\u00e9ed mushrooms
                   and melted Swiss cheese",
                  "languageCode": "en-US"
                }
              ],
              "price": {
                "currencyCode": "USD",
                "units": "15",
                "nanos": "750000000"
              }
            }
          ]
        }
      ]
    }
  ]
}

RESPONSE:

Response will contain an instance of the updated Location Object.

To learn more about the Google My Business API and to apply for access, visit our developer page. Questions or feedback? Contact the API team on the Google My Business API Forum.


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Posted by Aditya Tendulkar, Product Manager, Google My Business

*Google Trends

A new issue tracker for Google Maps APIs



Starting today, we’re working on facilitating better collaboration between you and the Google Maps APIs product teams, by upgrading to Issue Tracker, a tool we also use internally at Google. We have migrated all issues from the old code.google.com tracker to the new Issue Tracker hosted at issuetracker.google.com.
issuetracker.png
New Google Issue Tracker
code_small.png
Old Google Code issue tracker

Getting started with Google Issue Tracker should be easy. Check out our documentation for more information about how to create, edit, search, and group issues. By default, Google Issue Tracker only displays issues assigned to you, but you can easily change that to show a hotlist of your choice, a bookmark group or saved searches. You can also adjust notification settings by clicking the gear icon in the top right corner and selecting settings. For more information, check out the discussion of notification levels in the developer documentation.
issuetracker_maps_bookmark_group.png
The Google Maps APIs bookmark group

Searching for product-specific issues

Opening any code.google.com issue link will automatically redirect you to the new system. You’ll be able to find all of the issues from code.google.com in the Issue Tracker, including any issue you have reported, commented on, or starred. If you feel like anything is missing, let us know (how meta!) -- we have backups available!

Google Issue Tracker organizes issues into a component hierarchy. Starting at the Google Maps APIs bookmark group, you can drill down to a particular product's issues. And because each product (and some product features) have their own component, you can easily search for them. For example, you can view all Google Maps JS API v3 or Places API reports, which correspond to the old tracker’s full list for Maps API JS v3 and Places API. You can find the full list of Google Maps APIs components in the support section of our developer documentation. To search within those issues, leave the component ID in the search bar; removing it will search public issues from all Google products.

For detailed instructions on how to create issues check out this guide, Still have questions? Take a peek at our FAQ. If you can’t find the answer please let us know by commenting on this post.

The Google Maps APIs team wants your feedback!

Your feedback is important to us and makes a big difference! Make sure to take advantage of the starring feature for any issues you’re interested in to help us prioritize. As an example, after reviewing your feedback, we recently implemented Styled Maps for Google Maps Android API (received 365 stars) and Google Maps SDK for iOS (received 245 stars).

Please continue helping us improve our products by reporting issues and feature requests!

Google Maps APIs sessions at Google Next ‘17

Next 2017 is just a few days away and we’re looking forward to three days of insightful conversations, amazing technology and, of course, beautiful San Francisco. This year, Google Maps APIs business leaders, engineers, product managers, technical writers, and developer advocates are traveling from Sydney, New York and Mountain View to spend time with our customers and partners. We’re looking forward to sharing how our APIs help build the best location-based experiences for your customers.

Here are our sessions at Google Cloud Next ‘17:

Day 1 (March 8)

Location as a force multiplier: redefining what's possible for enterprises, Gayathri Rajan (VP Product Management).
1:20pm room 3018

Flexible development with the Google Maps APIs, Ankur Kotwal (Developer Advocate).
4:00pm room 3018

    Day 2 (March 9)

    Location-powered, on-demand economy: providing value with Google Maps APIs, Vishal Goenka (Group Product Manager).
    1:30pm room 3018
    Real world gaming: using location data to build immersive mobile experiences, Clementine Jacoby (Associate Product Manager).
    2:40pm room 3018