Back in May this year, Google announced the arrival of its Places Application Program Interface or Places API. It is developed over and above the existing 100 million places around the globe that are already stored in Google’s database. Although the Places API is already available as a web service, its inclusion in developing iOS and Android native apps in recent months has greatly enhanced the overall user experience (UX) by utilizing the location signals of mobile devices.
The Places API is an attempt to make mobile applications more human-like when it comes to handling some location-specific data. With this API, applications can now treat a location by its name and address, rather than just its coordinates. After all, we don’t respond in latitude and longitude when someone asks us for directions, do we?
Basic Features of Google Places API
The features that make Places API an out-of-the-box interface are:
• A drop-in widget, the Place Picker that lets users mark a specific place
• The instant auto-complete feature that offers users suggestions to similarly named places even as they type
• Getting detailed information about a place, including its phone number, website, and hours of operation
• Adding new places into an existing map
Why use the Places API?
The underlying purpose of Places API is to make mobile applications work more efficiently with location-specific data. Before you finalize on something, however, take a closer look at its three major advantages, as follows:
Once you integrate Places API during a mobile application development, your customers will get an open access to locations in more than 200 countries, with over 25 million streets split up into nearly 100 million individual segments. Not only street-based location, Places API can also retrieve building-specific data of more than 200 million addresses. Imagine the scope of development with such wide coverage.
2. Minimal App Complexity
Accumulation and maintenance of data about millions of places, along with providing latest information requires immense time and resources. Places API comes ready with all of that. A ‘search and discovery’ feature automatically looks after the user’s queries, thus making it easier for developers to focus entirely on core domain of the mobile app.
3. Forward-compatible contract
The Places API comes with a forward-compatible contract, which makes it easy for developers to introduce new elements into the application whenever necessary. Your customers will also automatically receive an access into the new elements.