Google Maps Engine could be quietly coming to a halt soon

UPDATED: A Google spokesperson confirmed Maps Engine support will end on January 29, 2016.
Written by Rachel King, Contributor

Google Maps appears to have hit a bump in the road with signs that its Engine is starting to slow down.

As of today, the Internet giant is said to be halting sign-ups for the Google Maps Engine API, which was crafted to help developers build apps with data infused from Google's extensive global mapping platform.

CartoDB, a rival dynamic map maker, piped up over the development first by announcing it has been working closely with Google on "CartoDB for Google Cloud."

A CartoDB representative told ZDNet on Tuesday that "Google will be ending its Google Maps Engine product next year and Google will be dropping the signup page of Google Maps Engine shortly."

As of Tuesday afternoon, the page was still live. Google has not responded to requests for comment yet.

Google Maps Engine itself is a service for storing geographic data and then layering that data on top of the Google base map. According to Google, the data can consist of "vector and/or raster (imagery) files."

Positioned as a replacement for GME, CartoDB is hoping to pick up enterprise stragglers with features such as a comprehensive library of GIS and data filtering functions (i.e. intersections, proximity searches, etc.) and the option for Google Authentication for single sign-on and identity management.

CartoDB can be set up to run on the Google Cloud Platform, among other infrastructures, and it has a specific server cluster within Google Platform.

Google Maps took a more corporate turn with the introduction of Maps Engine Pro in October 2013, debuting an advanced version of the popular online directions tool designed to enable a "more powerful form of mapping," accessible to any business owner and employee for creating custom maps for internal and external use.

At that time, there were approximately one million active websites and apps using the Google Maps API for custom-made, cloud-based maps.

By the following February, Google Maps traveled further with the Google Maps Gallery, a digital atlas for maps provided by businesses, government agencies, and non-profit organizations worldwide. Maps included in the Gallery are accessible via Google Earth as well as discoverable through major search engines.

Last July, Maps Engine Pro ramped up with the addition of Google Maps Coordinate, a mobile and web app designed for divvying up jobs and sharing locations among teams in real time. With rates starting at $5 per user per month, Coordinate was tied in with a Maps Engine Pro subscription.

UPDATE: Affirming Google Maps Engine support will end on January 29, 2016, a Google provided the following statement:

Maps and location information are valuable tools for businesses -- whether it's helping people find your store locations or identifying sales opportunities across town. To help our Maps for Work customers continue to get the highest impact from our products, in 2015 we'll focus on helping customers deliver location information via our Maps APIs and shift away from selling any non-Maps API products. We'll support our Maps for Work customers through their contracts and work closely with them and our partners through this transition.
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