Google Maps APIs - choose the right API type [2021 Version]


Google Maps APIs are by far the most frequently used mapping APIs with more than 25 million updates per day. In general, there may be no other application programming interface (API) that is more responsible for the increase in publicly available APIs than Google Maps Platform. But what is the Google Maps API exactly, what does it include and what possibilities does your business have to benefit from it?



The Google Maps Platform is a set of APIs and SDKs which lets developers embed Google Maps into web pages or mobile apps. Divided into three major categories, Maps, Places, and Routes, the different APIs exist to fulfil the precise need of your business. The best part: it works on a highly customized level. It is completely up to you which APIs you are going to implement. But now you probably wonder which API is the right choice for your business. With this blog post we would like to give you an overview of the most common Google Maps APIs to navigate you through the possibilities that you have with using them.

The first thing you need to know: Google Maps APIs are categorized by platforms.

android web ios pins

In a nutshell, the JavaScript, Android and IOS API are responsible for visualizing the map. But let us take a deeper look into some of the most fascinating APIs Google Maps Platform offers:

Google Maps Places API

GM api

Provide your application with full access to Google’s global database with over 100 million businesses and points of interest. Let's think about a restaurant you've visited recently - you probably remember the name, but do you know its exact address? People tend to think about places by name rather than keeping the street in their minds. Here, Google provides the missing data. Furthermore, if you do not remember the exact name of a location, the Google Places API features Autocomplete. Place-information can get returned based on only a few keystrokes that your customer types in, resulting in a very low error rate. Use the power of the Places API to give your users all contextual information that are needed.

Google Maps Geocoding API

GM geocoding api

Today, it gets more and more popular to simply order your taxi or another transportation provider with one click on your smartphone. Within no time the driver picks you up from your exact position. But how do they find you? The Google Maps Geocoding API is the answer. This API can automatically determine an address based on a pin drop. The other way around, Geocoding can also convert addresses into geographic coordinates. With this API you can plot places on a map.

Google Maps Geolocation API

GM geolocation API

Google Maps Geolocation API helps you to find the exact location of your customer. It returns a location and accuracy radius based on information about cell towers and WiFi nodes. For instance, you could easily identify your users' location and help them find your branches, stores, boutiques, etc. Another example from a total different angle: the user could get informed about the weather at his or her current location with the power of the Geolocation API.

Google Directions API

Google Directions API

The Google Directions API will provide you with directions for a series of locations. No matter what mode of transportation (driving, transit, cycling, walking), this feature will show you the best route. Hereby it also calculates durations for up to 23 waypoints, based on historical and current traffic conditions.

Google Maps Distance Matrix API

GM distance matrix API

Get information about the travel time and distance for multiple destinations with the Distance Matrix API. It calculates the recommended route between start and end points. This feature can help your business determining the best route and predict the duration of the trip (driving, public transportation, walking or cycling) while considering the current traffic situation. 

Not sure which API is best for your company? Google's API Picker will help you!

Can't wait to use Google Maps APIs for your companies' website or apps? We're more than ready to assist you or answer any questions you might have.

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