Google Maps: Make your map interactive

With a paper map, you can truly make it your own by getting out a pen or a pencil, and adding your own annotations to it. You could circle all the museums that you want to visit, or trace the route that you will take on your road trip.

Maps API applications can now offer users this sort of tactile interactivity using the new Drawing Library. The Drawing Library provides a toolbox which enables users to draw markers, lines, and shapes on the map, much as they would in any drawing application. The tools can be used for collecting annotations from users, or for selecting regions to search or highlight. Applications can listen for events when overlays are added and respond accordingly, such as issuing the search query or saving the annotations to a database.

Shapes on a map, including shapes users have just drawn using drawing tools, can also be made editable so that users can modify or correct them. For example, the user could change the bounds for a geospatial query with the drag of a mouse. The Polyline, Polygon, Circle, and Rectangle classes have a new editable property, which toggles the visibility of control points on these shapes.

For more information on using the drawing library and editable shapes, please refer to the Maps API documentation. The Maps API forum is a great place to discuss these new features, or raise any other Maps API issues that you may have. We hope that these new features will result in even greater interactivity for applications built on top of the Maps API.

The Changes to OAuth 2.0 endpoint


In the coming weeks we will be making three changes to the experimental OAuth 2.0 endpoint. We expect the impact to be minimal, and we’re emailing developers who are most likely to be affected.

We will be releasing these changes on November 15, 2011. This post describes the changes, their impact, and how they can be mitigated.

Change #1: Error responses for client-side web applications

The first change relates to the way errors are returned in OAuth 2.0 client-side web applications. It does not impact server-side, native, or device flows.

The current behavior of the OAuth 2.0 endpoint in certain error conditions is to return the error to the application as a query string parameter, for example:

The OAuth 2.0 specification indicates that the error should be returned in the fragment of the response. We are updating our OAuth 2.0 implementation to support the most recent draft of the specification. As a result, we will be changing the way we return errors to applications in the client-side flow.

As an example, today an error returns to your application as After this change, it will be returned as

There is no mitigation for this change, so your application will have to handle these types of errors in client-side script.

Change #2: Offline access as a separate parameter

The second change impacts the OAuth 2.0 server-side flow only. It does not impact client-side, native, or device flows. For context, this flow consists of the following steps:

  1. Redirect the browser to the Google OAuth 2.0 endpoint.
  2. The user will be shown a consent page.
  3. If the user consents, parse the authorization code from the query string of the response.
  4. Exchange the authorization code for a short-lived access token and a long-lived refresh token.

Once your application has obtained a long-lived refresh token (step 4), it may access a Google API at any time. This means server-side applications do not require the end-user to be present when obtaining new access tokens. We’re calling this type of access offline.

The client-side flow, in contrast, requires the user to be present when obtaining an access token. This type of access is called online.

With this change, we will be exposing online and offline access as a separate parameter that’s available only in the server-side flow.

When your application requests offline access, the consent page shown to a user will reflect that your application requests offline access and your application will receive an access and a refresh token. Once your application has a refresh token, it may obtain a new access token at any time.

When your application requests online access, your application will only receive an access token. No refresh token will be returned. This means that a user must be present in order for your application to obtain a new access token.

If unspecified in the request, online is the default.

A mitigation for this change is described at the end of this post.

Change #3: Server-side auto-approval

This change also impacts the OAuth 2.0 server-side flow only.

In the current implementation of OAuth2, every time your application redirects a user to Google, that user must give explicit consent before an authorization code is given to your application. As a result, sending a user through the flow another time requires them to see the consent screen again. Most applications don’t do this, but rather use the existing server-side flow as it was intended: a one-time association (import contacts, calendar operations, etc.) where the result is a refresh token which may be used to obtain new access tokens.

The behavior is changing to the following:

  • Users will only see the consent screen on their first time through the sequence.
  • If the application requests offline access, only the first authorization code exchange results in a refresh token.

To put it another way, consent will be auto-approved for returning users unless the user has revoked access. Refresh tokens are not returned for responses that were auto-approved.

The next section describes how to mitigate this change.

Mitigation of offline access (#2) and auto-approval (#3) changes

If you want to keep the existing behavior in your server-side applications, include the approval_prompt=force and access_type=offline parameters in an authorization code request.

For example, if the following is a target URL for obtaining an authorization code today:

You can maintain the current behavior by changing the target URL to:

You may start including these parameters in authorization code requests today.

OAuth 2.0 for native applications

Following our previous post on OAuth 2.0 for web applications, we are now taking a look at how to use the OAuth 2.0 authentication protocol for native applications, presenting examples for the languages that we are supporting at the moment of writing: Java and Python.

We strongly recommend reading Using OAuth 2.0 to Access Google APIs to learn about the Google implementations of OAuth 2.0 before proceeding with this post.

The Google APIs Client Library for Java features a powerful and easy to use OAuth 2.0 library. We can take advantage of the existing GoogleOAuth2ThreeLeggedFlow helper class to easily perform our authentication flow.

First create an instance of GoogleOAuth2ThreeLeggedFlow, passing the following parameters to the constructor:

  • a key that will be used to associate this flow object with an end user
  • the Client ID for your application
  • the Client Secret for your application
  • the scope you are requesting access to (AdSense in your case)
  • the URI to redirect to
GoogleOAuth2ThreeLeggedFlow authFlow = new GoogleOAuth2ThreeLeggedFlow(

For native applications, we use a special redirect URI:


The “oob” part stands for “out of band” and the rest of the string identifies it as a part of the OAuth 2.0 standard.

When we use this redirect URI, instead of redirecting the user’s browser to a page on our site with an authorization code, Google will display a page and the authorization code or error response in the title of the page. A text field contained in the page will show instructions for the user to copy and paste it into our application.

To start the flow, let’s ask the user to load the authorization URL in their browser:

System.out.println(“Please input authorization code: ”);
Scanner in = new Scanner(;
String authorizationCode = in.nextLine();

The last step is to use the authorization code to obtain an access token.

First you’ll need to initialize a transport for communication with the Authorization server and a factory for handling JSON, as the access token will be returned as a JSON object:

JsonFactory factory = new JacksonFactory();
HttpTransport transport = new NetHttpTransport();

Now you can finalize the authentication flow by obtaining credentials for your user, and then use those credentials to create the Adsense helper object and then send your signed requests to the API:

Credential credential = authFlow.complete(authorizationCode);
Adsense adsense = new Adsense(transport, credential, factory);
AdClients adClients = adsense.adclients.list().execute();


The home of the Google APIs Client Library for Python is also the home of OAuth2Client, a library designed for connecting to resources protected by OAuth 2.0.

First create an OAuth2WebServerFlow object, passing the following parameters to the constructor:

  • the Client ID for your application
  • the Client Secret for your application
  • the scope you are requesting access to (AdSense in your case)
  • an HTTP User-Agent to identify this application
flow = OAuth2WebServerFlow(

We can perform the authentication calling the ‘run’ function imported from, storing the authentication data using a Storage object:

storage = Storage(‘adsense.dat’);
credentials = run(flow, storage);

If the flag ‘auth_local_webserver’ is raised (the default setting), will open the authentication URL on a running browser or on the system default browser. After the user performs the authentication, the authorization code will be read from the title of the page shown in the browser. If you don’t want this behaviour, you can disable it like this:

import gflags
gflags.FLAGS.auth_local_webserver = False

In this way we’ll have a flow similar to the one that we have seen in Java: the user will be asked to open the authentication URL in a browser window and then to copy and paste the authorization code back in the application. The only difference is that will take care of printing these messages and read the input from the user for us.

The last step is create an httplib2.Http object, authorize it with the previously obtained credentials and then send a request to the API:

http = httplib2.Http()
http = credentials.authorize(http)
service = build(‘adsense’, ‘v1’, http=http)
result = service.adclients().list().execute()

Cool! But I want to know more!

In this post we have seen examples of how to authenticate your native application using the Google implementation of the OAuth 2.0 protocol and the libraries that we are providing to simplify all of the tasks involved.

Now that we know how to perform authentication for both web and native applications, in my next post we are going to see different ways of storing the authentication data.