Android devs are getting more tools to inject Google Maps deeper into their apps.
Google is launching a new Places API for Android, which includes a maps widget and and supercharged search feature for finding venues more quickly on a map. It’s designed for developers whose app helps you find a restaurant, new spot to check out, or in some other way access Google Maps.
The Place Picker widget lets you drop a pin and look around for what’s nearby, just as you would in the standalone Google Maps app. It also gives details on the location and what else is nearby - details pulled from the massive Google Maps index.
There’s also an autocomplete feature, which will generate venue suggestions when you start typing into a search box.
Finally, a Place Add API will let users add new suggestions to the Google Places database.
Why this matters: As one of Google’s flagship products, it’s critical that Maps be available in as many apps as possible. These API tools already existed on the web, but since most of us are using our phones for finding a restaurant or using a location-based app Google wants to extend that power to Android apps. There’s a similar set of APIs for iOS also now available, though those are in beta.