On Wednesday, the company announced that this is all part of a new initiative called the Google Maps Platform. The new platform will make it easier for any company to incorporate Google Maps into their products, and it marks an important step in Google's plans to turn its mapping technology from a popular app into a money-making business.
Google said it has streamlined the process of embedding Google Maps into apps. Where once the service offered 18 APIs, the new system is condensed into three main areas: Maps, Routes, and Places. Google also scaled back the price for using the service to a single pay-as-you-go plan.
“One of our goals is to evolve our core APIs to make them simpler, easier to use and scalable as [companies] grow,” the company said in a statement.
For a long time, Google Maps appeared to be just whiz-bang technology that lacked a discernible way to generate revenue. Obviously, Google appears to be looking for ways to cash in on the service as well as extend its enterprise offerings.
Google already has customers. In October, Lyft announced that it had replaced the ride-sharing company’s old navigation software used by drivers with Google Maps. Google is also working with MyTaxi.com. A Google spokesperson confirmed that these deals are part of the new service.
Google Maps also wants to help game developers create augmented reality games. In March, Google managers announced that they brought Google Maps to the Unity game engine to assist game designers to digitally transform models of the physical world into game environments.
Google said that starting on June 11, customers will need a valid API key and a Google Cloud Platform billing account to access the Google Maps Platform.