Last week Google announced release of version 3 of their map API service. There is no difference how the new map looks on the outside but everything under the hood have been totally redeveloped according to Model–View–Controller (MVC) architectural pattern used in software engineering. As one Google engineer put it, “the primary motivation behind this new version was speed, especially for rendering maps on mobile browsers.”
My initial impression is that improvements are not readily noticeable in a standard desktop environment. But I take Google’s word for it that it will be “fast and furious”. I am starting to hit barriers how far I can extend current applications. For example, all front page map functionality of aus-emaps.com, like searching or viewing extra layers, is loaded only “on demand” to limit the size of initial download and the load on computer memory and processor. The new, high performance, approach to Google map architecture is most welcome.
Google already had a version of maps for mobile phones but it was not available for developers. Version 2 of map API, although could work on mobile browsers, is too big for any advanced applications. The only way for developers to deploy Google maps for mobile browsers was to use scripted static maps (eg. like dial-up version of aus-emaps.com) or develop them only for iPhones. Now everyone can develop and deploy free applications that will work on almost any mobile browser. Here is an example of one of the first deployments of v3 for mobiles from Lonely Planet: