Google announced the launch of a new way to customize your Google Maps at Where
Mapplets allow you to personalize your
Google Maps experience
by overlaying data that is of interest to you. That could be anything from homes
for sale, to photos of beautiful beaches, to weather reports. For a list of the
most popular mapplet’s to date,
out this link. Here is an example mapplet that publishes photos and
interviews along the length of Route 66. While this same information could be
subscribed to through your favorite RSS reader like Google Reader or Bloglines,
the same information comes alive when presented in appropriate geographic
The data overlayed on the maps resides on the publisher’s server, so the data
will change whenever the publisher makes an update to their content. It’s
basically RSS for Maps where people subscribe to content that interests them,
and the content changes whenever the publisher changes it.
Real estate seems like an
category for this type of content, but it may be a while before you see a
mapplet with a comprehensive set of homes for sale in your neighborhood due to
constraints imposed by MLS systems on sharing their data.
This is a great way for sites to get their content in front of people who are
using Google Maps all day already. Are there certain types of stores you
frequent enough to warrant inclusion on your Google Map? Apple Stores, perhaps?
It looks like that particular mapplet doesn’t exist quite yet.
This is different from the similar sounding Widgets, where small web pages or
web applications are embedded into other sites. Mapplets are all about
customizing your Google Maps experience. However, it’s probably possible – or
will be soon – to make a widget out of a Mapplet version of a Google Map.