Thursday, May 31, 2007

Session three from Developer Day in London

I've been wandering around for the last session checking out the various different talks going on.

Ian and Matt from BBC Backstage entertained the crowd in one of our breakout rooms, talking about the trials of supporting the developer community while also battling through the traditional BBC bureaucracy. They have built up a large community of developers, all doing interesting things with BBC content (some combining it with Google tools such as maps and gadgets), and run a thriving mailing list and social event scene.

Meanwhile next door, our Maps API workshop saw teams pitted together to create the best maps mashup with an environmental theme, with prizes for the winners. We have workshops in each European country taking part in Developer Day, all working to create one big mashup by the end of the day.

On the other side of the building in the main hall, Peter Birch gave a presentation in Google Earth, and even used Google Earth as a presentation tool itself.


Andrew Eland is lead engineer on our maps products in Zurich, and he's giving the current presentation in the main room on new features in the Maps API.

The session began with a reminder of the current features available to users of the Google Maps API, for instance the drag and drop functionality, and the use of overlays. Directions and traffic information (in certain cities) are also available in the API.

Andrew also talked about the coming launch of AdSense for the Maps API. The marker on the map looks slightly different than the normal ones, and when clicked on show a sponsored link. Developers are allowed to chose whether they want ads on the map, and if so how many ads to display. Google created this to allow developers to monetise their mashups, and if users do click through, the revenue for that ad will be shared.

The bulk of the talk focused on the newly announced Mapplets. Andrew suggested there are two big problems with mashups at the moment: Firstly, users have to use multiple sites to find and use the information they want, for instance looking up the location of a hotel on a mashup, but then having to come back to Google Maps to get directions. Secondly, is that mashup developers have trouble driving traffic to their site.

A mapplet is a Google Maps API turned into a plugin for Google Maps. It allows developers to add their content directly onto Google Maps. This is good for them, as it increases exposure to the mashup, but also for the user. For example, rather than going to a separate site for booking hotels, there is now a mapplet available from a hotel information provider, which displays hotels markers on top of the map.

For more information, Andrew's presentation will be available as a YouTube video, or you can try it out yourself with this preview.

The European keynote

Our day in London has begun with the European keynote presentation, which is being presented in our main room here at The Brewery, as well as being beamed live to the events Hamburg, Madrid and Moscow, and on the web.

Chris DiBona, Open Source Program Manager, began by talking through the history of Google's APIs, starting out with our search API, through to the Maps API, which really landed Google in the development community, resulting in loads of great, creative maps mashups.

Sitemaps was a significant project we released with an Open Source license and Chris spoke through the history of it. It was the forerunner to many of the releases that have followed, including Google Gears, which was announced this morning. Gears allows web developers to take their web apps offline, and we'll learn more about it later in the day.

Chris has been followed by Ed Parsons, our Geospatial Technologist, who began by reminding us of Google's mission statement: To organise the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful. However, as a geographer, Ed had a slight addition to the statement: To organise this information geographically.

As Ed says "everything that happens, happens somewhere" and suggested that 80% of the world' information is geographical - and by that he doesn't just mean maps, but books, images, video, sound etc. The challenge we face is how to display this information. Ed suggested three solution building blocks: Base Geodata, Google Apps and Google's Geo tools. However, the most important thing that is required is you. Because it is the users that are providing new information and are building the applications that are making the geoweb.

(Ed also announced a rather shameful obsession with air travel. He told us that when he first downloaded Google Earth, rather than trying to find naked women on beaches, he went looking for airplanes...)

GDD just kicking off in London

We've got about five minutes until Developer Day in London kicks off and we're just about ready to go. This is a photo of Googlers preparing the goody bags for the guests before they arrive.

To mark Google Developer Day, we're launching two new initiatives to connect with the developer community in the UK. The first is a UK Developer Group - a forum for discussion of projects using Google APIs, as well as other developer projects and events going on in the UK. Click here to visit and join the group. And if you're at Developer Day, feel free to start a discussion about any of the sessions going on today.

We're also releasing a new gadget for iGoogle, aimed at the developer community. As well as the latest news from, it will bring videos from Google Developer Day as they are uploaded, as well as posts from this blog. Click here to add it to your iGoogle page.

And remember, if you're not able to join us at The Brewery today, you can follow along with our live webstream.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

GDD Workshops

Hello there!

I hope you're all excited about GDD tomorrow.
The team has been working slavishly night and day, around the clock, to make this event rock your socks.

There are going to be many great speakers, and cool new stuff to be revealed.

I'll be in the Maps Workshops, starting at 13:45 and 16:00 sharp, and I hope to see you there.
Bring your laptops, your thinking caps, and your mad maps skillz, and prepare to win awesome prizes, and find international fame and glory.

We've got an interesting programming challenge for you; you'll be working in small teams against other people in the room, and also teams across Europe, all at the same time! We're pretty excited, and hope to see you there!

Looking forward to seeing you on Thursday at Google Developer Day!

Hello developers...on Thursday I'll be in London for Google Developer Day giving two presentations. For the first, the keynote, I will talk about how we approach the creation and release of truly open APIs. Inspired by open source software development, we try to make our APIs as open as possible.

For my second talk, I'll discuss how we use open source software in our day to day operations and how we've served our friends in open source software with services on and through programs like the Summer of Code.

These talks will be made available via simulcast to Google Developer Day participants in other locations and they will also be recorded for later viewing. I look forward to seeing how you are using our APIs!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

London Developer Day to be streamed on the web

Google Developer Day is drawing closer, and we're putting the final touches to the event in London. It looks set to be a great day, with hundreds of developers joining us for workshops, talks and discussion.

For those unable to make it to the event itself, we're pleased to announce you'll be able to watch a live feed from our main room throughout the day. On the 31st May, video will be streamed to this site, kicking off at midday. The schedule of sessions is as follows:

European Keynote with Chris DiBona, Google's open-source program manager, and Ed Parsons, Google Europe's Geo technologist.

Google Maps: New features in the Maps API

Google Earth, KML and the Geoweb

Building better AJAX applications

Google Gadgets: Distribute Your Content with Universal Gadgets

So that's this Thursday, 12pm, from here. We hope you can join us!