We wanted to get this in your hands as soon as possible, so we've intentionally released it early, and with a basic set of features. We're releasing it in Labs because it's not fully baked yet; we want to get your feedback on the new design and what you'd like to see in future revisions now that we have a chance for a fresh start. Yes, this does mean that you'll have to rewrite your existing mashup code if you want to take advantage of v3, but we think that speed is very important to a great user experience.
What's changed in v3? Besides the substantial improvements in speed, a few other things that you'll notice in the initial release:
- iPhone Safari mobile and Chrome added to our supported browsers. Your mashups will also work on Android-based phones with the recent update, but you may notice some issues, like the "View/Save Image" dialog showing unexpectedly. We're working with the Android team to fix this and improve the end user's experience in interacting with the map. We could've waited until it's perfect, but we really wanted to get an early release in your hands and start getting feedback while we fix up a few remaining issues.
- No keys required. You can now copy 'n paste code easily or embed in RSS readers, for example, without getting key errors.
- Default UI is enabled automatically. We'll provide default UI controls and behavior (and we'll update them) so your mashup can keep up with the latest and greatest changes we make to Google Maps. Of course, if you've got customized controls you're happy with, you can disable the default UI updates.
- Namespaces. Everything is always in the google.maps.* namespace and there is no "G" prefixed variables in the global scope.
- Geocoding API has been overhauled based on the feedback we've received with the existing implementation over the past three years.
What does the API look like? Here's a quick, complete example that you can grab to render a map. It's even set up to render a full-screen interactive map on the iPhone and Android browsers.
We've set up a new group for you to provide feedback. Also, the terms have been updated to remind you that versions we release as "experimental" or in Labs may not have the same level of support as ones that are already out of Labs. This means that we'll continue to support the current v2 API well after v3 matures and graduates from Labs. In the meantime, we're looking forward to adding a lot more functionality to this new release so please send us your feedback!