Google announced a few upgrades and new features to its Maps and Places APIs during the Google I/O developers conference on Wednesday.
On the API front, Google Maps’ Product Manager Thor Mitchell announced that business reviews are now available in the Google Places API. Developers will be able to access the top five reviews associated with a business listing, but there was no explanation for how the top five reviews are determined. Mitchell also said Google is working on adding full Zagat review data to the Places API.
The Google Maps API now includes one of the most oft-requested developer features: Transit directions and information.
One other addition to the Maps API is a bit more technical than we tend to be here on Search Engine Land, but it provides an interesting preview of what could become very popular on third-party sites that use Google Maps.
Google calls the feature “Symbols” — it’s a new data visualization feature that gives developers control over how Maps items (like push pins, stars, arrows, dots, etc.) are styled. Google’s demo showed how air traffic data could be styled in the form of small airplane icons flying across the U.S. map. Here’s a short, silent video of that.
Google said there are currently more than 800,000 developers using the Maps API.