Google Maps JavaScript API Delaying Final Move to V3 Until November

Slower-than-expected developer adoption of Version 3 of the Google Maps JavaScript API is causing Google to continue the use of Version 2 until Nov. 19.

Google Maps has been in the process of moving to a new default JavaScript Maps API Version 3 since May 2010, but the move is now being delayed for six more months due to slow developer adoption.

The change had been scheduled to take place on May 19, when the JavaScript Maps API Version 2 was to be ended after a three-year transition to Version 3 of the API, according to an April 29 post by Ken Hoetmer, product manager for the APIs, on the Google Geo Developers Blog.

"In May 2009, we released JavaScript Maps API v3, rebuilding the Maps API from the ground up with a deliberate focus on reduced latency and increased performance," wrote Hoetmer. "A year later, on May 19, 2010, v3 graduated from Labs to become the default JavaScript Maps API. JavaScript Maps API v2 was subsequently deprecated and scheduled for shutdown on May 19, 2013."

In the last three years, the JavaScript API Version 3 has gained additional new development features, including elevation, cycling and transit directions and symbols, and has "seen fantastic adoption," wrote Hoetmer, "but we also recognize that a number of longstanding sites have not yet migrated their applications to v3."

Because of that lag, the shutdown date for Version 2 is being pushed to Nov. 19 to give remaining users time to prepare for the use of Version 3, he wrote. "On that date, we will attempt to automatically turn remaining v2 maps into v3 maps, by way of a JavaScript wrapper we will deploy. We expect this wrapper to work for most simple maps, but to avoid any last-minute surprises, we strongly encourage sites to complete their migration to v3 ahead of this date. We have prepared an upgrade guide to help make the migration process as painless as possible."

Developers who seek more information about the changeover can get help in the Maps API forum.

A Google spokesperson told eWEEK that they did not have further details on the adoption rates of Version 3 of the API, compared with Version 2, nor about how those adoption rates correlated to the six-month delay for the API switchover.

The new JavaScript Maps API Version 3 was built from the ground up by Google to offer a clean, fast and powerful maps application development platform for both desktop Web browsers and mobile devices. Once its development was stable enough in May 2010 to establish it as the default new API for Maps, it took on the title of principal Google Maps API from the Maps API v2 to the Maps API v3, according to Google.

That made it the recommended version for all new Maps API application development and set in motion the three-year timeline for the demise of JavaScript Maps API Version 2.

The Version 3 API lets developers embed Google Maps in their own Web pages and is especially designed to be faster and more applicable to mobile devices, as well as traditional desktop browser applications, according to Google.

Google offers three different Maps APIs for developers, the Google Maps JavaScript API, the Google Maps API for Flash and the Google Static Maps API. They can be used alone or in combination.

The Google Maps JavaScript API Version 3 works with more Web browsers than Version 2 supported. V3 works with Internet Explorer 8.0+ for Windows; Firefox 3.0+ on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux; Safari 4+ on Mac OS X and iOS; Chrome on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux; Android; BlackBerry 6; and Dolfin 2.0+ on Samsung Bada.

Google Maps JavaScript API V2 only worked with IE 6.0+ for Windows; Firefox 2.0+ Windows, Mac OS X and Linux; Safari 3.1+ for Mac OS X and iOS; and Chrome for Windows.

A wide range of developers use the Google Maps APIs to create innovative and interesting Websites where maps and their uses can be explored.