Google Maps Development History 2005-2008

A reader sent a query several weeks ago asking for a time line of developments for Google Maps. I sent him over to the Wikipedia article on Google Maps as a possible resource. I subsequently went there myself and realized that it had not been updated in  since the end of 2007 and that many details that I considered important were missing.

It seemed that to understand Maps, the competitive landscape and the future direction of local, it was necessary to have a strong record of the developments in Maps for the past few years. I decided to take the time to update the article at Wiki with those additional Maps developments from 2006, 2007 & 2008 that I was aware of. Here is that list. If I am missing any please let me know:  


  • In April 2005, an alternate view was activated to show Satellite images of the area displayed.
  • In April 2005, Google created Google Ride Finder using Google Maps.
  • In June 2005, Google released the Extensibility and customisation.
  • In July 2005, Google began Google Maps and Google Local services for Japan, including road maps.
  • On July 22, 2005, Google released “Hybrid View”. Together with this change, the satellite image data was converted from plate carrée to Mercator projection, which makes for a less distorted image in the temperate climeslatitudes.
  • In July 2005, in honor of the thirty-sixth anniversary of the Apollo Moon landingGoogle Moon was launched.
  • In September 2005, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Google Maps quickly updated its satellite imagery of New Orleans to allow users to view the extent of the flooding in various parts of that city. (Oddly, in March 2007, imagery showing hurricane damage was replaced with images from before the storm; this replacement was not made on Google Earth, which still uses post-Katrina imagery.[15]
  • 2006

  • As of January 2, 2006, Google Maps features road maps for the United States, Puerto Rico, Canada, the United Kingdom, Japan, and certain cities in the Republic of Ireland. Coverage of the area around Turin was added in time for the 2006 Winter Olympics.
  • On January 23, 2006, Google Maps was updated to use the same satellite image database as Google Earth.
  • On March 12, 2006, Google Mars[16] was launched, which features a draggable map and satellite imagery of the planet Mars.
  • In April 2006, Google Local was merged into the main Google Maps site.
  • On April 3, 2006, version 2 of the Maps API was released.
  • On June 11, 2006, Google added geocoding capabilities to the API, satisfying what it called the most requested feature for this service.
  • On June 14, 2006, Google Maps for Enterprise was officially launched. As a commercial service, it features intranet and advertisement-free implementations.
  • In July of 2006 Google started including Google Maps business listings in the form of Local OneBoxes in the main Google search results.[17]
  • On December 9th Google integrates the PlusBox in the main search results. [18]
  • On December 19th Google added a feature that lets you add multiple destinations to your driving directions.[19]
  • 2007

  • Beginning in February 2007, buildings and subway stops are displayed in Google Maps “map view” for parts of New York CityWashington, D.C.LondonSan Francisco, and some other cities.[20]
  • On January 29, 2007 upgrades Local Universal results and includes more data in the main Google results page
  • On February 28, 2007, Google Traffic info was officially launched to automatically include real-time traffic flow conditions to the maps of 30 major cities of the United States.
  • On March 8, 2007, the Local Business Center is upgraded.
  • On May 16, 2007 Google rolls out Universal search results including more Map information on the main Google results page.
  • On May 18, 2007 Google adds neighborhood search capability.
  • On May 29, 2007, Google driving directions support was added to the Google Maps API.
  • On May 29, 2007, Street View was added. It gives ground level 360 degree view of streets in some major cities in United States.
  • On June 19th, 2007, allows reviews to be added directly to businesses on Google Maps
  • On June 28, 2007, draggable driving directions were introduced.
  • On July 31, 2007, support for the hCard microformat was announced; Google Maps search results will now output the hCard microformat; unfortunately, the implementation is broken.
  • On August 21, 2007, Google announces a simple way to embed Google Maps onto other websites
  • On September 13, 2007 54 new countries are added to Google Maps in Latin America and Asia.
  • On October 27, 2007, Google Maps starts mapping the geoweb and showing the results in Google Maps.
  • On October 27, 2007 Google Maps adds a searchable interface for coupons in the business listings.
  • On November 27, 2007, “Terrain” view showing basic topographic features was added. The button for “Hybrid” view was removed, and replaced with a “Show labels” checkbox under the “Satellite” button to switch between “Hybrid” and “Satellite” views.
  • 2008

  • On January 22,2008 Google expands the Local Onebox from 3 business listings to 10.
  • On February 20, 2008, Google Maps allows searches to be refined by User Rating & neighborhoods.
  • On March 18, 2008, Google allows end users to edit business listings and add new places.
  • On March 19, 2008, Google adds unlimited category options in the Local Business Center.
  • On April 2, 2008, Google adds a contour lines to the Terrain view.
  • In April 2008, a button to view recent Saved Locations was added to the right of the search field (must be signed in).
  • In May 2008, a “More” button was added alongside the “Map”, “Satellite”, and “Terrain” buttons, permitting access to geographically-related photos on Panoramio and articles on Wikipedia.
  • On May 15, 2008, ported to Flash and ActionScript 3 as a foundation for richer internet applications.
  • On July 15, 2008, walking directions were added.[21]
  • On August 6, 2008, Street View launched in Japan and Australia.[21]
  • On August 15, 2008, the user interface was redesigned.[21]
  • On August 29, 2008, Google signed a deal under which GeoEye will supply the search giant with imagery from a satellite,[22] and introduced the Map Maker tool for creation of map data.[21]
  • On September 9, 2008, a reverse business lookup feature was added.[21]
  • On September 23, 2008, information for the New York City Metropolitan Transit Authority was added.[21]
  • On October 7, 2008, GeoEye-1 took its first image, a bird’s-eye view of Kutztown University in Pennsylvania.[23]
  • On October 26, 2008, reverse geocoding was added to the Maps API.[21]
  • On November 11, 2008, Street View in Spain, Italy, and France was introduced.[21]
  • On November 23, 2008, AIR support for the Maps API for Flash was added.[21]
  • On November 25, 2008, a new user interface for Street View was introduced.[21]
  • On November 27, 2008, maps, local business information, and local trends for China were introduced.[21]
  • On December 9, 2008, 2x Street View coverage was introduced.[21]
Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
Google Maps Development History 2005-2008 by

10 thoughts on “Google Maps Development History 2005-2008”

  1. Nice work, its always good to see if someone who knows his stuff adds it to wikipedia!
    I didn’t know that so many things changed over time, interesting read.

  2. Thanks Olly. I didn’t dig into either 2005 (before I started the blog) or the later half of 2008 as I was getting tired. Google offered up a pretty good summary of that.

    Regardless I am sure that there are significant developments that I missed.

  3. Mike: You missed an important date and event:

    (unknown date): Locksmiths begin to twist, distort, and mangle G Maps, simultaniously letting the public know that this is a resource that needs big help.

  4. Actually the thoughts actually crossed my mind about but I realized that the list was called Development History not Major Snafu History… … there is a section in Wikipedia on criticisms..I guess I could work on that next 🙂

  5. Google maps should include as its next development information about the hazardous areas of the world (including swine fly, war zones that are presently active, et cetra). This will help greatly international travellers across the globe.

    Mike thanks for the wonderful piece of your work done.

    Tony Smith

  6. Once thing is that the algo seems to be shifting away from the title and more towards the category. But thing is, now it seems like a USAInfo listing is the new holy grail of Maps. Sorta like the DMOZ for NLS?

  7. a big thank you for doing this! i have been a fan of the google maps, and i kind of been adding information/landmarks in my area, and im trying to convince my friends to do it as well, but it seemed that progress has actually stopped – maybe from my point of view.

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