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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.

2011-10-28 11h03_15

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

  1. Anonymous
    January 16, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    google always ends up making money from their free services.

  2. Scutterman
    October 31, 2011 at 9:13 am

    What this article doesn't point out is that that you get "up to 25,000 map loads per day for each API" ( http://code.google.com/apis/maps/faq.html#usagelimits ).

    The majority of small-medium websites won't even touch the sides. Some large websites that don't monetise their sites will be affected, which will be a great shame, but I don't think this is as big of a deal as the article claims

    • QuieroChat.Com
      November 1, 2011 at 6:13 pm

      Even if you monetize your site, say you have adsense and your site is free....
      Lucky you if you'll be getting an eCPM of $4, which is what they'll charge you for an extra 1.000 map loads, (not to say you'll be using styled maps) so you'll be loosing money.Strange move from them. Let's see what does Bing.

      • Scutterman
        November 1, 2011 at 6:21 pm

        A good point, but if you take into account that you get 25k views before that you won't be loosing money as such. Less profit maybe, but a changing market is something anyone who wants as much profit as possible has to deal with.

        I agree that it'll be interesting to see what Bing does. Microsoft are pushing it into several areas of the web including, I believe, Facebook, so it wouldn't be a huge step to think that people will consider it as a map replacement.

        • QuieroChat.Com
          November 2, 2011 at 1:02 am

          I have news.
          I contacted today Google representative about the Premier ed. of the Maps api regarding the usage limit as they recommend you to upgrade to Premier if your site becomes popular.
          The $10.000 premier includes 1M maps load A YEAR.
          Considering that the free allowance is 25.000 per 365 days a year, it's ~9M free map loads A YEAR.
          Funny isn't it?
          I've replied with this argument and still waiting for the answer, as it makes no sense.

        • Scutterman
          November 2, 2011 at 2:51 pm

          Check it out here http://www.google.com/enterprise/earthmaps/maps-compare.html
          Apparently you get 100,000 map loads a day, which is 4x as any as the free limit. Considering that 10,000USD is 6,253.5176GBP I'd say it's pretty fair for those who will need it.

  3. Suhel
    October 31, 2011 at 6:14 am

    If I understand correctly what API is, then Too bad for them, if people wont be able to enter relevant information there would be inaccuracy in their own application. 

    • Scutterman
      October 31, 2011 at 9:05 am

      The API is a way of displaying and controlling a google map on your website or application

  4. badabing
    October 31, 2011 at 5:17 am

    wow.. interesting move. does this apply for mobile users as well? if so, does it come out from the mobile users pocket or ?? doesn't nokia have free maps?

  5. Dawson Witter
    October 30, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    I have news for a lot of you. Google is going to start charging for a lot of their, "custom apps" This is only the start of something much bigger, and I am sure a lot of folks are going to be very upset indeed.

  6. Anonymous
    October 30, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    It is good ... For the competition!

  7. Bno25
    October 30, 2011 at 1:15 pm

    This is a bad move. I have contributed nearly 80% of my country's roads through MapMaker. I live in Suriname. If I had known back then that the service was going to become a paid one, I would've never contributed.

    • Jose A. Rodríguez
      October 30, 2011 at 6:03 pm

      Totally agree with you

  8. Swamykant
    October 30, 2011 at 12:05 pm

    You are right Austin

  9. Swamykant
    October 30, 2011 at 12:04 pm

    This is not a good step from Google

  10. Rychu
    October 29, 2011 at 10:38 pm

    Hopefully they won't go any further with this and won't start charging for other Google services

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