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Google will shortly roll-out a new feature on its mapping service that will allow users to easily embed maps directly into web pages.
The feature, which operates much in the same as with YouTube videos, was conspicuously missing when Google launched its My Maps service on Google Maps in April.
The new feature was announced today in Sydney by Google Australia's senior product manager, Carl Sjogreen. He said it would be rolled-out worldwide in about a week's time.
Google's Embeddable Maps Due Next Week [smh.com.au]
I assume the idea is that the embedding code will be much more neatly packaged and ready for copy and pasting, so that even people who don't know what API means will be able to use it.
That's how the Youtube embedding has become so popular, it's incredibly easy to do it.
You're right though, this feature has technically been available for quite a while.
Having an API and having an easily embedded bit of code are slightly different things. One requires technical knowledge and can only be used by a minority of users, while the other simply requires knowledge of copy and paste and can be used by the majority.
The upshot of this will be far more websites and blogs containing embedded maps from Google than there were before. Indeed, embedding of Google Maps may now become the standard way to give directions and locations on the internet because it will be so easy.