It’s been long awaited, doubted, wondered, feared, promised, predicted and hoped for so long. Today, Google Maps announced the release of a Flash API! From one platform leader to another, congratulations to the Google Maps team. This is big for you and the Flash community.
Flash developers are special for maps. Flash apps are always distinct, since they cannot just simply be carbon-copied like most Ajax maps mashups. Flash developers seem to spend way more time building and cultivating their maps-based apps and mashups — and, real statistics show, that users spend more time on Flash born maps-apps than other those built on other technologies.
I applaud the timing of this release — right in the middle of Where 2.0 and days before WhereCamp. It should be the talk of the week, as many eager maps and geo developers will now have a new and optimal solution for building out their apps.
Those who perceive this release as competitive should recognize the positive aspects of what a fresh new Mapping API can bring for Flash. As I used to point out at Yahoo!, the Maps API is like a ‘gateway drug’ to all other APIs. Once a developer starts in on maps, they want more — they want to include photos, weather, news, videos and everything else they can get their hands on. Google should now see prime interest and demand in their other APIs (some of which, like YouTube, are already geared towards Flash development). And all those other popular APIs (many from Yahoo!, like Flickr) should see a burst of interest from Google’s loyal developers — who to this point, may not have yet enjoyed and benefited from the great performance and features they are about to see from Flash!