Google Launches New Maps APIs For Location Tracking And GPS-Free Geolocation

Google today launched two new APIs for Google Maps that are specifically geared toward tracking the location of vehicles, mobile resources and employees. By announcing these new APIs on its enterprise blog and by asking developers to go through its sales team to purchase access, the company is clearly signaling that these features aren’t so much meant for casual apps, though it’s easy to see how many location-aware apps could profit from using these tools.

The new Google Maps Tracks API will allow developers to build apps that can store, display and analyze GPS data on a map. This API, says Google, will allow organizations “to develop customized location-based applications to meet specific business needs.” The API will also allow developers access to features like geofencing.

The Google Maps Geolocation API allows developers to get more accurate location data without the need to use a GPS. Instead, the service tries to triangulate your location by looking at the cell towers and WiFi access points around you. This, of course, sounds quite a bit like the functionality that third-party services like Skyhook have been offering for quite a while now. According to Google, this service is meant to save battery life and to allow for better indoor location (where GPS can’t work).

It’s worth noting that Google also offers Maps Coordinate, a full-blown tracking service for businesses that offers many of the same features (tracking, location sharing, etc.) these new APIs now enable for third-party apps. Maps Coordinate also offers its own API.