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To start developing, please head over to our developer documentation.

Activate the Google Maps JavaScript API

To get you started we'll guide you through the Google Developers Console to do a few things first:

  1. Create or choose a project
  2. Activate the Google Maps JavaScript API and related services
  3. Create appropriate keys
Continue

Localizing the Map

You can customize your map for a specific country or region in the following ways:

  • Change the default language settings.
  • Specify a region code, which alters the map's behavior based on a given country or territory.

Language localization

By default, the Google Maps JavaScript API uses the user's preferred language setting as specified in the browser, when displaying textual information such as the names for controls, copyright notices, driving directions and labels on maps. In most cases, it's preferable to respect the browser setting. However, if you want the Maps JavaScript API to ignore the browser's language setting, you can force it to display information in a particular language by adding a language parameter to the <script> tag when loading the Maps JavaScript API code.

The following example displays a map in Japanese and sets the region to Japan:

<script src="https://maps.googleapis.com/maps/api/js?key=YOUR_API_KEY&language=ja&region=JP">
</script>

View example.

If you set the language of the map, it's important to consider setting the region too. This helps ensure that your application complies with local laws.

Note: When you load the API in the manner shown above, the map uses the Japanese language for all users regardless of user preferences. Be sure you want this behavior before setting this option.

The Maps JavaScript API also supports bi-directional (Bidi) text containing characters in both left-to-right (LTR) and right-to-left (RTL) languages natively. Examples of RTL languages include Arabic, Hebrew, and Farsi. Generally, you should specify RTL language pages to render properly by adding dir='rtl' to the page's <html> element. The following example renders a map of Cairo, Egypt using Arabic controls:

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html dir="rtl">
  <body>
    <script src="https://maps.googleapis.com/maps/api/js?key=YOUR_API_KEY&language=ar&region=EG">
    </script>
  </body>
</html>

View example.

See the list of supported languages. Note that new languages are added often, so this list may not be exhaustive.

Region localization

When you load the Google Maps JavaScript API from maps.googleapis.com it applies a default bias for application behavior towards the United States. If you want to alter your application to serve different map tiles or bias the application (such as biasing geocoding results towards the region), you can override this default behavior by adding a region parameter to the <script> tag when loading the Maps JavaScript API code.

As the developer of a Maps JavaScript API application it is your responsibility to ensure that your application complies with local laws by ensuring that the correct region localization is applied for the country in which the application is hosted.

The region parameter accepts Unicode region subtag identifiers which (generally) have a one-to-one mapping to country code Top-Level Domains (ccTLDs). Most Unicode region identifiers are identical to ISO 3166-1 codes, with some notable exceptions. For example, Great Britain's ccTLD is "uk" (corresponding to the domain .co.uk) while its region identifier is "GB."

For example, the following script tag localizes the map to the United Kingdom:

<script src="https://maps.googleapis.com/maps/api/js?key=YOUR_API_KEY&region=GB">
</script>

The following examples show two maps, one which geocodes "Toledo" based on the default region (US) to "Toledo, Ohio" and one which biases results based on a region set to ES (Spain) to "Toledo, Spain."

View the US example and the ES example.

Loading the API in China

The Google Maps JavaScript API is served within China from http://maps.google.cn. When serving content to China, replace https://maps.googleapis.com with http://maps.google.cn. For example:

<script src="http://maps.google.cn/maps/api/js?key=YOUR_API_KEY">
</script>

If you are specifically targeting users in China, you should add the region and language parameters as well. The API supports both zh-CN and zh-TW as values for the language parameter.

<script src="http://maps.google.cn/maps/api/js?region=cn&language=zh-CN&key=YOUR_API_KEY">
</script>

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