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Users of Google Maps’ API will soon have to start paying for usage. The general price will be $4 per 1,000 map loads, but there are some allowances and ways to lower costs. A “map load” is counted when a user opens a page which contains the Maps API. The number of times the user clicks on the map, uses the map or the exact usage of the map, doesn’t matter for pricing purposes.

Google has updated the Maps API user agreement in April, and already announced back then that limitations were coming for usage of Maps API. Not everyone will start paying immediately, though. For regular maps, the first 25,000 users will be free, with $4 for every 1,000 users after that. For sites or apps that use Styled Maps, the initial limit goes down to 2,500 users. It then goes up to $4 per 1,000 users, and goes up again to $8 per 1,000 users after 25,000 map loads.

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Google promises that they won’t block overused APIs right away, so you have time to think about what you want to do. If you’re using the Google Maps API, you have 3 options:

  • Reduce usage so it doesn’t go over the free limit.
  • Join the payment program for extra usage.
  • Purchase a Maps API Premier license, which starts at $10,000, so it’s certainly not a solution for everyone.

Simply embedding Google Maps into your site without using the API is still free, so if this is OK for your purposes, it might also be an option to consider.

What do you think about this change? Is this a right decision on Google’s part, or are they being greedy and are making a big mistake?

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Source: The Register

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