google maps.gifGoogle has announced availability of the Google Maps API, a free kit to create computer programs that interact directly with Google Maps. Like we said yesterday, this is sure to be interesting. We’ve already had housingmaps.com, dynamite.co.uk/local and chicagocrime.org.

The API is open to commercial and non-commercial websites that are free to consumers.

Update, 12:50pm: And, fancy that — we just got an email from Yahoo announcing the release of the Yahoo Maps API tomorrow. Must be scrambling, because the link they gave us gives us a big “Not Found” so far.

Update, 8:36pm: We’ve been out, but just tested the Yahoo link again, and it’s now working. Here are some early examples of Yahoo Maps API development they pointed us to — both local, which we like. One is of places featured in the movie Sideways. Another is of web cams in the Bay Area, which is cool. The one down in San Jose is of the freeway just outside of the Mercury News’ hq. Darn, guess we’ll have to stop speeding.

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