Hopefully, all of you maps developers out there have heard of Mapplets (through the blog post, Where2.0 announcement, or Developer Day talks). Mapplets are Google Gadgets that are made especially so that they can be loaded by a user on maps.google.com, and have access to the main shared map. Users can load multiple Mapplets simultaneously for a quick and easy way to mashup content from multiple sources - like loading the ChicagoCrime mapplet with a housing search Mapplet to help them buy a house in a burglary-free part of town. You can check it for yourself at:
So why would you, the developer, want to convert a Maps API mashup into a mapplet? Here are a couple reasons to motivate you:
- Mapplets help you instantly reach millions of Google users. Just as with normal Google Gadgets, users can browse through the Mapplet gallery to find what interests them. Once they've added a Mapplet, it gets bookmarked in their Mapplets tab so they can quickly load it each time they visit Google Maps.
- Mapplets are hosted on Google servers, so those millions of users can use your Mapplet without you having to worry about server bandwidth. The Google Gadgets infrastructure handles fetching content for you and provides aggressive caching and server side storage of user state for you. Code an amazing Mapplet, and Google will take care of distributing it to the world for you.
- Mapplets are a great vehicle for driving traffic to your main mashup. A user casually tries out your Mapplet, finds some useful information, and then decides to visit your main site for a more in-depth experience. If driving traffic to your site is a motivation, you may want to include a linked logo in your Mapplet, and describe what additional features are available on your main site.
Now that you're ready and eager to create a Mapplet version of your site, skim through the Mapplets documentation and check out the just released "Converting a Maps API Mashup into a Mapplet" conversion guide. Let us know in the forums if you run into any issues in converting your site into a Mapplet, or just post a link to let everyone know about your cool Mapplet. We look forward to seeing the thousands of Maps API mashups out there represented in the Mapplets directory.