[Note: The Places API is now generally available to all developers for use in any app. For more information please see the launch blog post - May 10th 2011]

At the Google I/O developer conference earlier this year we previewed the Places API, a new service that will allow applications to search for Places, and obtain detailed information about individual places selected by users. At that time we posted documentation and provided an Application Form that developers can use to indicate their interest in using the API.

We have been delighted with the enthusiasm we have seen for the Places API, and the innovative ways in which developers would like to use it. We have seen applications that offer check-in to places and need to identify an individual place at which a user is currently located, applications looking to show a user Places around them, and applications looking to offer a search and browse experience for Places similar to that offered on Google Maps.

We are going to focus initially on check-in applications. These are the applications that we feel the API currently caters to well, and we are excited to work with developers building these applications to understand their requirements, and ensure that we are offering them the best possible experience.

When we previewed the Places API back in May we indicated that we planned to begin processing applications in July. I’m happy to say that we have now begun reaching out to developers who have expressed an interest in building check-in applications using the API, including those working on client applications for the Buzz API.

If you have already applied to use the Places API and you feel that your use case fits this initial focus, please log back in to the Application Form and ensure that your description makes this clear. To manage usage we will be issuing credentials to developers in stages, so please do not worry if you do not hear from us immediately.

If your requirements extend beyond the check-in use case, please bear with us and we will be in touch once we are confident that the API can effectively meet your needs.