In the two years since we originally released the Google Maps API, we have been continually impressed by all the innovative and interesting new applications that developers have built on top of our maps. One day we were looking at two of the original Google Maps mashups, and, and we realized it would be even more useful if they could be combined because most people wouldn't want to live near high crime areas. We also noticed that most of you were not aware that these great sites even existed.

These two realizations led us to create Mapplets, which are mini-applications that any developer can build on top of the Google Maps site -- essentially, these are embeddable mashups. You can then choose which of these Mapplets you want to see overlaid on the same map and combine them with the built-in features of Google Maps, like driving directions and business search. This lets you create your own mashups from the content that's most relevant to you. It also gives publishers a new channel to reach the millions of Google Maps users who are looking for their content.

We've released a special Developer Preview version of Google Maps that supports Mapplets at:

Mapplets are created from the mashup of the Google Gadgets API with the Google Maps API, so anyone who is already familiar with these can quickly create a Mapplet. For more information, please see this demo and the Mapplets developer documentation. We can't wait to see what new mashups our developer community will dream up and what old mashups will be reinvigorated by new exposure.