Whether you use an iPhone, Blackberry or Android you may be earning Google some revenue when you use their Maps applications and APIs.
You didn’t think Google (GOOG) was offering up all of those maps that you see all over the Web as just a goodwill gesture, did you? Now developers who use Google’s Maps UI including Apple (AAPL), with their Maps.app on iPhone, will be supporting Google’s advertising efforts.
Google will be monetizing its Maps applications and Maps APIs by letting businesses embed their logos on the maps that Google provides … for a fee.
Advertisers pay to have their company logos appear on the map, and to help you remember their locations the next time you’re in the area. Sponsored map icons are being offered as a limited beta to companies in the U.S. with multiple locations and a well-known brand. Participation in this beta does not affect visibility on the map; the new feature is only available to businesses that already appear on the map, and whose default icons can be swapped out for their logo.
I know some will be upset about the revelation, but this feels fair to me. I get great mapping functionality of Google Maps and at the same Google gets a few pennies every time I see an company logo. The logos aren’t intrusive and actually help me recognize the landmarks I am after quicker. So who is to lose out here? Google, customers or advertisers all seem to benefit?