Paying Up For Google Maps Mash-up

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The openness of Google Maps’ API has spawned a web phenomenon with slews of Google Map mash-ups. And they do make for a nifty bonus to any webmaster wishing to give visitors a better way to locate services. But, according to the New York Times, don’t expect Google to let you profit from their generosity without a cut of the action.

The Times article features a real estate company named Trulia that uses the Google Maps API to create a mash-up that pinpoints real estate listings. But free use of that API may be nearing a close as company profits go up.

“Once a mash-up turns into a large-scale commercial enterprise, Google looks to share in the revenue. That is happening at Trulia; Google lawyers are trying to negotiate a royalty agreement,” reports Damon Darlin.

Of course, Google’s usual quid pro quo is the reservation to place advertising on newly created maps, allowing site owners to share in the revenue. If Darlin is correct, though, there are limits how much you can profit through your own business with Google’s help.

UPDATE: A spokesman for Google says the New York Times was incorrect about Trulia being contacted for royalties. “Google does not charge or require a relationship with large API sites,” says Google’s Barry Schnitt.

The Google Map API is available here for those who know their AJAX code. For the rookies, check out Ning, which provides more of a mash-up for dummies guide.

Paying Up For Google Maps Mash-up
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