Google Abandons “Maps API For Flash”

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In more news of Flash’s impending decline, Google is announcing that it’s “deprecating” the Google Maps API (application programming interface) for Flash. This API previously allowed developers to add Google Maps functionality within their Flash-based applications.

However, as of today, use of the API is limited, says Google, with only a small number of applications taking advantage of features unique to the Google Maps API for Flash alone.

The API, which originally launched in May 2008, is similar to the JavaScript version, but designed for use within Flash apps. Developers could use the API for manipulating and adding content to maps through a variety of services, which enabled them to embed interactive maps applications on websites.

The Maps for Flash API isn’t actually being killed off entirely – it’s being deprecated. That means that it will continue to function according to the Maps API Terms of Service, but no new features will be developed, and only “critical bugs, regressions and security issues” will be fixed.

In other words, the API is basically being abandoned.

Flash developers are instead encouraged to migrate applications over the Maps API v3, which offers other benefits like Street ViewFusion Tables integrationPlaces search, and full support for mobile browsers, says Google. And help is being made available on the Google Maps JavaScript API v3 forum.

The move is not surprising, given the limited interest in the API’s unique features, as noted above. However, in some way, the decision seemingly stands in contradiction to other moves Google has made in recent months in support of Flash. For example, last summer, Adobe and Google jointly announced that the Flash Player would soon be built into the Chrome Web browser going forward, thus eliminating users’ need to download, install and update the plugin separately.

Plus, Google’s mobile operating system is known for its support for Adobe Flash, and Flash-based apps.

In today’s blog post, Google also adds that it continues to support Flash as a development platform in Chrome, too, but the link for more details goes to a dead URL.

Maybe that page got deprecated too?

Update: Google fixed the link. The correct URL is http://www.google.com/support/chrome/bin/answer.py?answer=108086.