Google Plus Demo – innovative use of the Google Maps API

Google created the Google Plus Demo site to create buzz for the new Google Plus project, and to introduce new users to the features of the project. It’s informative and well-designed in a very Google way, but what is most interesting about it is the way it utilises their own Google Maps API to create a zoomable interface for the demo.

It starts off zoomed all the way in, with arrows pointing you to where you’re supposed to click. And click one could, but the average internet browser’s familiarity with the Google Maps interface means they might be just as likely to zoom out, drag around and explore the site’s canvas. The fluidity of the user experience this creates gives the user the option of having an entirely linear or non-linear experience on the site, or even a bit of both.

Google Plus Demo Start

Subtlety isn't called for in this design

Various features of Google Plus are outlined in the clickable icons on the “map”, which a user can either click manually or be taken to via the “next” or “previous” buttons on the guided tour. At the end of the tour, the user is zoomed out to view the whole area.

Google Plus Finish

The user is zoomed out to see the whole map at the end of the tour

One of the great benefits of Google Maps API’s tile-based system is that it allows the use of enormously large resolution images in an easily zoomable, and most importantly, quick to load interface. And since the Google Maps API need not have anything to do with actual maps, it has the potential for some interesting and innovative ways to construct a site’s architecture.

Seen any other interesting uses of the Google Maps API? Let us know in the comments below.

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