Introducing the new Places API with access to EV, accessibility features, and more
A new Places API is now available to give developers the opportunity to share new types of information from Google Maps with their end users. New features in Text Search, Place Details and Photos, and Nearby Search–which now includes EV charging–make it easier for developers to surface helpful information about the world in the products they build.
Real-time electric vehicle (EV) charging station data
As EVs grow in popularity, so has the demand for finding charging stations. To optimise travel plans, your users need information regarding stations, compatibility with their car, and availability. Real-time data for EV charging stations is now available through the new Places API. This means your users can optimise their driving based on real-time charging station information, like which stations are available and max charging speed at each station.
Since charging connectors differ, your users will also be able to view the type of connector a charging station accommodates. This means businesses like automakers, real estate companies, and more can create even richer and more dynamic user experiences. Charging stations will be returned by the API wherever they’re shown in Google Maps.
Real-time data for EV charging stations is now available through the new Places API
New place types
The new Places API provides even more details and place types, which means your users will be able to find detailed information about places of interest by type such as best sushi or nearby hiking areas. You can now include or exclude nearby places from place searches by place type. With the new Places API, we’ve nearly doubled the number of supported place types since the previous version. Now there are nearly 200 places including coffee shops, playgrounds, and more.
With the new Places API, developers will also be able to provide updated accessibility information for places, including wheelchair-accessible seating, restrooms, and parking. This builds on our wheelchair-accessible entrance field, which was introduced to the Places API in 2022. These accessibility features will be available for places wherever they’re available in Google Maps. You can now find these accessibility features available in Place Details, Nearby Search, and Text Search, exclusively on the new Places API.
It’s easy to surface the best places nearby with the help of new ranking capabilities, which show places that are popular in nearby search. For improved performance, search now also supports field masking and can return the place information you need without a follow up call to Place Details.
Previously, your users had to do a text search for a keyword such as "coffee shop" which wouldn’t always guarantee the right results. Sometimes the query might even surface something similar but not quite right, like a coffee roaster, in the results. Now, you can filter Text Search by the more granular set of place types, such as adding “coffee shop” as a filter when your users are searching for a cafe.
With the new Places API, you will also be able to display a “primary type” for each place, which tells you which type is the most important. For example, a primary type returned for a restaurant could be “Japanese restaurant.” That restaurant might also have a bar as well, but "bar" wouldn’t be considered the “primary type.”
The new Text Search also supports improved location restrictions and filters for minimum ratings and varying price levels, which can deliver better matches for your users' queries and support new use cases.
New pricing and Google Cloud service infrastructure
Based on developer feedback across numerous industries, Google Maps Platform has made improvements to simplify pricing for the new Places API. With field masking now available for Place Details, Text Search, and Nearby Search, developers can control costs by requesting only the information their apps need. For example, if you only request fields included in the Basic data tier in your Nearby Search, only the Nearby Search (Basic) SKU will be billed. If you request reviews or other detailed place data like whether a restaurant serves dessert, the Nearby Search (Preferred) SKU will be billed.
The new Places API also offers modern security settings with OAuth-based authentication and is built on Google Cloud’s service infrastructure to give you even more peace of mind as you build with Google Maps Platform. This provides an alternative to API key-based authentication of requests to the new Places API, which are still supported.
Together, with their new fields and search features, you have a new API, modernised to help you focus on building and launching great products. To learn more about the new Places API, get in touch with us today.