Google launches 'Places' API for sensible locations

(Image Credit: iStockPhoto/kozyavka)

Few of us can name a place by its latitude and longitude, but I bet most know several locations by its name. Up until today, developers have only been able to add location pickers using co-ordinates. With the launch of Google's new 'Places' API for Android, and in beta for iOS, users can specify where they are with actual place names instead.

Google wrote in a blog post: "People don’t think of their location in terms of coordinates on a map. They want context on what shops or restaurants they’re at, and what’s around them."

Several features are available in the new API including; a place picker in the form of a drop-in UI widget, autocomplete support for searches, the ability to determine the place where a user is currently located, and detailed information about each spot.

Users can also help bolster Google's already extensive database of more than 100 million locations with their own locations if they so choose.

For web developers, this announcement won’t be news as the Google Places API and JavaScript library has been available since last year. However, it marks the first time it's been available to native mobile applications on Android and iOS.

"By providing native support for Android and iOS devices, you can optimize the mobile experience with the new APIs by taking advantage of the device’s location signals." Google wrote.

To get started with the Places API for Android, watch this DevByte, check out the developer documentation, and play with the demos. To apply for the Places API for iOS beta program, go here.

Will you be implementing Google's new Places API in your applications? Let us know in the comments.

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