New Google Maps Platform Routes API Brings New Developer Tools

Posted by Derek Imes, Head of Location Services

Oct 31, 2022

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Google Maps Platform, the gold standard in location-based solutions, includes a set of APIs that allows developers to embed Google Maps into mobile apps and web pages, or to retrieve data from Google Maps. With offerings for maps, routes and places, developers typically use one or a combination of Google APIs depending on project requirements. 

 

A New Routes API for Developers is Now Available in Preview Mode

Recently, Google announced the introduction of Routes API, a performance-optimized version of the Directions and Distance Matrix APIs. The new set of API components in Routes enables developers to provide customers with more informative and flexible routes, along with improved ETA accuracy. The Routes API provides the tools to create new and advanced functionalities for users: 

  • Routes for two-wheel motorized vehicles. Users will be able to request directions and distance matrix calculations for avoiding toll roads, highways and ferries — and finding routes not accessible to cars.
  • Tolls calculation data. User requests for information about tolls will now consider the type of vehicle being driven and what kind of electronic toll pass is needed.
  • Real-time traffic visualizations. Drivers will have the ability to specify whether live or historical traffic data should be considered in route segment calculations, and weigh choice trade-offs based on information from different segments of a route. 
  • Smarter waypoints. In an effort to improve travel time calculations, intermediate waypoints will now allow a user to decide to pass through or stop at a waypoint. It will also help users stay away from unsafe locations — and specify the appropriate side of the road for a waypoint.
  • Latency reduction. Fine-tuned controls beyond the existing Directions and Distance Matrix APIs will allow developers to provide features to compare accuracy versus latency. Using field masking, developers can soon choose which fields such as ETA, distance in meters and traffic conditions are returned in the API response. This translates to decreased response payload sizes — and simplifies the response, making it easier to process.

Eco-Friendly Route Creation

A new feature in the Routes API, eco-friendly route creation gives developers the ability to add power trips so users can make sustainable route decisions to improve business performance. These include selecting the vehicle’s engine type — and the ability to view fuel consumption data across single and multiple routing trips, or even across an entire fleet. (This feature will be available later this year.)

Advanced Markers for JavaScript

The advanced markers capability in the Routes API will help developers create customized performance markers, providing an enriched end user experience. Your customers will be able to showcase their brand while saving development time and resources. (This feature is available in Preview for the Maps JavaScript API. It is expected to be released in the coming weeks.)

Address Validation API

Address Validation — an additional new API — allows developers to improve consumer experiences and operational efficiencies by detecting invalid address inputs and suggesting recommendations using places data from Google Maps Platform. This will make it possible to identify address components, fix errors — and enrich addresses with missing data. Minimizing invalid addresses up front can lead to time and cost savings for customers and reduce friction for end users. (This feature should be generally available in the coming months.)

 

Summary

With these new Google Maps APIs, Google continues its journey to keep enhancing the Maps user experience. These new features allow developers to further customize maps to provide greater and more precise location-based services for businesses and consumers.

For further details, please see the Google blog.

 

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Derek Imes, Head of Location Services

Derek is the Head Location Services at Onix. Since 2013, he has focused on helping companies understand the business benefits of adopting location-based solutions. Derek helps customers understand the licensing options and best practices for deploying Google Maps solutions, both pre and post sale.

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