Google is preparing to roll out its AdSense system on its popular Maps service, making it possible for companies to develop map-based applications and also reap advertising revenues from its geographic search services.
"We are going to make AdSense available for maps," Google software engineer Bo Majewski announced at the company's developer day in Sydney today.
Incorporating advertising is a key strategy for Google to make money from its various search services, but it has so far held back from offering advertising options to sites which incorporate Maps content, even though map-based "mashups" have become one of its most popular features.
AdSense won't automatically be added to applications which use maps, but developers will have the option of including it. "You have to sign in and you have to create a special AdSense manager," Majewski said. "You tell it how many ads you are comfortable with the map, and it displays them."
The motive behind the change is simply to enable third parties to profit from their development efforts, Majewski said. "There are people who provide good content on the map, and they want to monetise it," he said. "This is the same model we have with regular AdSense."
A time frame for the release wasn't specified, but Majewski said it was coming "very shortly". Google's Maps team, much of which is based in Sydney, has had a busy week, rolling out 3D views of selected US cities, launching the ability to add "Mapplets" to its own maps site and adding the ability for third-party developers to incorporate its driving directions service.