You may have believed that there was no such thing as a free map - but until recently there was. Google has announced usage limits and charges that will apply to its Maps API. How is this going to impact developers?
The fact that Google intended to introduce usage limits for websites using its popular Maps API starting October 1st probably went unnoticed by many.
After all how many of us actually read the updated Maps API Family Terms of Service when they were revised on April 1st - or got as far as paragraph 10.1.1 subsection (i). Even if we did it might not have rung alarm bells as it is couched in terms of "Google reserve the rights to set transaction limits".
Well the era of free and unlimited use of the Google Maps API is now about to be over. According to the blog post that heralded this news:
no site exceeding these limits will stop working immediately
and to assist developers in working out if their sites are exceeding the limits Maps API is going to be added to the Google APIs console soon.
It also says that at least 30 days notice will be provided on the Google Geo Developers Blog before enforcement if the usage limits and billing for excess usage begins.
Google's reasons for introducing usage limits and the excess charges shown in the table ostensibly seems reasonable:
With the continued growth in adoption of the Maps API we need to secure its long term future by ensuring that even when used by the highest volume for-profit sites, the service remains viable.
However the pricing table makes clear that it is using it as a lever to make users upgrade from the older version 2 of the API and for styled maps (ones that can be customized) the excess charges come in at much lower usage, making the purchase of a license for the Maps API Premier a more attractive proposition.
But while 25,000 maps loads per day and a charge of $4 per 1000 over the limit may seem a generous limit there are many mapping apps that are likely to be hit hard.
Acording to Google 350,000 developers around the world are building apps using the Google Maps APIs . Many of them are likely to be worried that they might find themselves facing large, and largely unexpecred, bills.
Introduction of usage limits to the Maps API
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