When you think of Amazon, what comes to mind? Ebooks, next-day delivery and the Kindle probably float to the top, but what about maps? Not so much. But it turns out the online retailer wants to also nudge its way into the map game.
Today Amazon announced the release of the Amazon Maps API in beta, which allows select developers to integrate Amazon’s mapping technology into their own apps on the Kindle Fire.
Amazon is hoping its new API will lure devs away from Google Maps by providing a “simple migration path” to switch from the native Google Maps API on Android. According to the post, Amazon’s API will feature:
- Interactive Maps. You can embed a Map View in your app for customers to pan, zoom and fling around the world. You have the option to display a user’s current location, switch between standard maps and satellite view, and more.
- Custom Overlays. You can display the locations of businesses, landmarks and other points of interest with your own customized markers and pins.
Amazon’s play for its own maps API seems to date back to at least a few months ago, when it acquired 3D mapping startup UpNext. Google Maps has never been built into the Kindle Fire–in order to access it, users have to open it in the browser or download a third-party Android app. By building its own API, Amazon can effectively skip Google altogether.
A few weeks ago, a rumors of a cooperation with Nokia also swirled, further pumping up the notion of Amazon’s potential move into maps. “Cooperating with Nokia may help Amazon develop integrated, or ‘native,’ mapping functionality for the Kindle Fire without relying on Google Maps,” the Chicago Tribune wrote.
From today’s announcement, it’s unclear if Nokia was involved in the release of the Maps API, but it seems like Amazon has finally gotten its own native map app. Sorry, GOOG.