Greetings from Google I/O! The Google Geo API team and 16 of our partners are here to enjoy two fantastic days of sessions, demos and good geo fun! We’ve come a long way since our first Geo Developer Day in 2006 and continue to see a large portion of attendees interested in the Geo track here at I/O. With the first day under our belts, here are the highlights that cover notable launches, announcements and the other sights from the conference.

Google Maps API v3 Graduation - We’re excited to announce that v3 of our Google Maps API has graduated from Google Code Labs! What this means for developers is that v3 is the new default API which we will continue to enhance and add features to. We’re also making v3 the default for enterprise geo developers. V3 was built from the ground up with performance and mobile mapping implementations in mind so we’re really excited to be moving forward with this new version.

Directions Web Service - We’ve listened to our users and addressed the number one most requested feature from our Maps API Issue Tracker. The Directions web service joins the existing Geocoding and Elevation web services and allows Google Maps applications to obtain Driving, Bicycling, and Walking directions through an XML/JSON REST interface.

Places Web Service, Nearby Places Widget preview - We previewed our latest addition to the Maps API web services family. The Places web service will allow a developer to offer search for nearby places in a native mobile application through an XML/JSON REST interface. During the session today we were joined on stage by Booyah who are using this new web service within their MyTown mobile gaming app.

As I mentioned we have 16 partners participating in what we’re calling the “Developer Sandbox”. The sandbox is the chance for attendees to talk 1:1 with developers that have used Google’s Geo APIs to create awesome implementations. This year we have the Maps, Maps Data, Earth, and SketchUp APIs represented, in addition to 3 Google Earth Enterprise deployments.

Here is a sample of what we saw yesterday...

Stay tuned for more updates throughout the rest of the week and in the meantime be sure to follow @GoogleMapsAPI on Twitter and our Geo Developers Blog for updates as they happen!

Posted by Mike Pegg, Product Marketing Manager, Geo Developer team