The gift of gadgets

Thursday, December 11, 2008 at 1:10 PM


The holidays always mean a lot of traveling for me -- traveling to the airport, to stores, to Grandma's house, and all over town.

Getting from Point A to Point B has always been easy on Google Maps. Simply click on "Get Directions" and you're on your way - whether by car, by foot or by public transit (in select cities). Now with our new directions gadget, you can bring driving and walking directions powered by Google Maps right to your website.

With the gadget, the days of manually typing and updating multiple blocks of text directions are over. By copying and pasting a single line of code, any website can offer customized door-to-door directions to their users. Users can then print directions with a single click. Did you know that you can now print directions with embedded maps and Street View images? This video shows you how.

This gadget is perfect for any webmaster wishing to direct users to a physical location - this means businesses both large and small. Some partners already using this gadget include major airports (Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson Airport), universities (Stanford University), amusement parks (Legoland California), and restaurants (Emeril Lagasse's restaurants), to name just a few.

Below is a version of the gadget to play with that provides directions to Google's San Francisco office. If you would like to add this directions gadget to your site, visit our gadget creation page to quickly make your own!



PS: Providing directions from Google Maps is pretty flexible; in addition to run-of-the-mill addresses, you can give your site visitors directions to everything from a generic ZIP code to a specific set of lat-long coordinates for any of your locations.

Examples:
123 River St, Woods, MA
90210
42.06782,-71.756963

But with great power comes great responsibility. You might want your visitors to end up at your coordinates, but that doesn't mean they'll understand what a mess of numbers means when they see it in your list of addresses. The key is to give the address an alias, or a name that everyone will understand. You can do this by putting the alias in parentheses just after the address:

42.06782,-71.756963 (Grandma's House)

Add an alias to as many of your addresses as you like, or feel free to leave it off the easier ones; it doesn't hurt for your visitors to know where they're going. After all, you want them to remember how to come back for a second visit…