Today, pretty much all of that is now untrue. The API codebase has stagnated in terms of actually useful features being added (many neat features have been removed or quietly deprecated; the new features being added are generally incremental and lame), which is really quite remarkable given that the Google Maps stand-alone website (the one you visit when you go to Google Maps to look up a map or location) has had a lot of neat features added to it (like its 3-D mode) that have not been ported to the API code (which is why NUKEMAP3D is effectively dead — Google deprecated the Google Earth Plugin and has never replaced it, and no other code base has filled the gap).
Stories like this often confuse me. Google’s behaviour seems designed specifically to harm the people most enthusiastic and knowledgeable about their products, pushing them away to use competitors’ products or other alternatives. While that won’t harm Google’s bottom line in the short term – and, in fact, might even improve it – in the long term, it strengthens alternatives and teaches people to untangle themselves from Google’s web of products.
What’s in it for Google here? Is this just clueless bean counters lead by bottom line-obsessed executives? Or is there some grander plan behind pushing people away?