Google Maps has launched an on-site applets platform that could do for the mapping tool what Apps have done for Facebook.

Mapplets are mini web applications that can be bolted on to extend a user's Google Maps experience with a range of new functions, from petrol prices to Manchester's Metro system.

Independent developers have created mashups using Google Maps' API ever since the site was unveiled in 2005. But those creations have largely been hosted on their own websites.

Letting users customise the service using bolt-on Mapplets will further allow them to carry out their mapping tasks on Google's own site.

When Facebook allowed its users to add independent coders' Apps from its new Platform system in May, it added a stickiness that has contributed to the social networking site's phenomenal growth.

According to Google: "Mapplets are mini-webpages that are served inside an iFrame within the Google Maps site. You can put anything inside this mini-webpage that you can put into a normal webpage, including HTML, Javascript, and Flash."

Google Maps product manager Thai Train gave a video introduction to the addition at YouTube.

Google earlier added the MyMaps feature, allowing users to store locations, directions and areas on their own google.com account.

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Published 11 July, 2007 by Robert Andrews

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