Google has officially released the new Mapplets technology which were first released as a preview at the Where 2.0 conference on May 29th. Interestingly, Google is now referring to the new Mapplets as “Mashup 2.0”. I think this is appropriate because the new approach is truly an evolution in the idea of mashup presentation. Here’s a video introducing you to the new capability of My Maps:
To see the new maps technology, simply go to Google Maps. The tab which says “My Maps” now not only lets you create your own maps annotations, but also combines the features of mapplets. You can add mapplets from others by selecting “Add content“. You can also try out some “featured content” which are sample mapplets. The Panoramio example should be very familiar to Google Earth users who have long had the ability to view photos from Panoramio as a layer.
As I mentioned shortly after the announcement, a little known feature of the new mapplets is that you can now enable some KML files from Google Earth as your own Google Maps mashup. For example, you can type in the URL of a KML file into the “Search” pane of Google Maps and view placemarks on the map (not all KML files work – for example you can’t view 3D models in Google Maps). You also get a button under the “My Maps” tab which lets you “Save to My Maps” the KML to your My Maps. So, for example, look at the KML file of the New Seven Wonders of the World in Google Maps. All I did was copy the URL of the KML file into the search pane of Google Maps. Try out the “Save to My Maps” button and you now have your own copy of the New Seven Wonders which was intended for just viewing in Google Earth. Instant Google Maps mashup!
One important feature of the new Mashups 2.0 capability is that it enables people to have their content highlighted and presented as gadgets which can be added to your My Maps. Given that Google has said you will be able to add Adsense ads to your custom Maps Mashups, this means people will soon be able to earn income from popular mashups. This will further incentivize people to develop innovative mashups.