An Alternative to Google Maps
In 2013, Google made a major update to it’s maps feature. It’s still a work in progress I suppose, but for the most part it’s a completely different interface than what it used to be. Along with interface changes came the addition and deletion of specific features. One of the biggest features they removed was the ability to embed maps via an iframe.
I suppose they have their reasons for removing this feature - the first one being that they can now make money by offer this as a “business” feature. So if you want to have that old functionality you have to pay a monthly fee for their Google Maps for Business. I guess that’s cool since they offer even more fun features along with the plain old ability to embed a nice map.
I must have embedded over 200 maps in the past 3 years. Almost every site I launched needed (or wanted) a map on their site. And for good reason. So for me to pay for Google’s “Business” solution probably could be justified.
Google still technically keeps it’s API open and free for developers to use. They just don’t offer the WSIWYG feature of creating an embeddable iframe. So I found this great little JS library called Gmaps.js. It’s super easy to use and incorporate into any website. Their documentation is fantastic and it’s been super easy to integrate into my WordPress websites. I’ve created a nice little shortcode that I can use in my themes, letting me embed a Google map wherever I want. I know there are a few plugins out there that probably take advantage of this library, but I thought it was much easier to roll my own solution.
So, Kudos to Google for a new source of revenue but thanks for keeping our options open!