Google Maps Its Way To The Enterprise

Even as developers were celebrating the about-face of Google leaving its Calendar APIs open after all, another team inside Google was making an announcement of its own: the availability of the Google Maps Engine API.

Formerly known as Google Earth Builder, the Maps Engine API will enable developers to create and share customized Google Maps within web- or mobile-based applications.

Rather than just doing a standard "hey, look at the cool product!" blog post, Google opted to bring in FedEx for a customer spotlight on the Google Enterprise Blog.

Pat Doyle, Manager IT, FedEx, outlined how it plugged its database of store and pickup point information into Google Maps so that store and drop-box information was mapped out on a real-time basis, with pickup schedules and store hours kept continuously updated.

"Everyone who looks at this says, 'Wow, this is the way a store locator ought to be,'" Doyle stated in a video describing FedEx's journey to using the Maps Engine API.

Using maps for such a seemingly mundane thing as a store locator tool may not seem like a big deal, but it's a clear indicator that this is how Google wants to work with enterprise customers: share its wealth of acquired data (in this case, maps) for such integrated tools. The payoff? Collaborators have a way to get cloud-based, easier-to-implement apps for mobile and Web customers, and Google widens its footprint on the mobile Web even more.

(See also: The Future Of Google Maps: Social, Personalized And Way Smarter)

As users look for the release of the new Google Maps interface announced during I/O last month, expect to see more collaborations like this with enterprise customers deploying map-based tools as a gateway to richer mobile Web experiences.