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Google to start billing for using maps but what does it really mean?

Jul 6th 2018

As of the 16th of July 2018, Google will start to charge anyone who uses a Google Maps API on their website. So, what does it really mean and how much could you be charged?

If you are a business with a website that isn’t stuck in the early 2000’s (believe me they do still exist), you will most likely have the Google Maps feature embedded somewhere within your website that enables your users and customers to pinpoint exactly where your located. Simple, easy, free, right!? Unfortunately, not for much longer…

After the 16th of July, using this feature on your website will incur a charge as part of changes towards more fair usage. That charge will be based on the number of uses of the API (Application Program Interface) and what type of map or API is used. Google will be combining the current 18 individual Maps APIs into three core products: Maps, Routes and Places.

This means that charges will vary for a wide range of different industries. For example, if you just have the one map on your website to show users where you are, you could have an unlimited number of views monthly compared to a business directory or travel website who will be looking at higher charges. (Note: dynamic maps will allow unlimited free use unless you use features such as Directions or Search Mode). The same applies for Ecommerce websites that will use Maps and Routes features to calculate delivery costs.

With a monthly credit of $200, most small businesses will probably find themselves not having to pay anything, it will simply depend on the nature of your business and how much your maps really get used. If you’d like to look into the new prices in more detail, view Google’s official pricing & plans here.

To break it down, $200 a month will get you:

  • up to 28,000 free loads of Dynamic Maps; or
  • up to 100,000 free loads of Static Maps; or
  • up to 40,000 free Directions calls; or
  • up to 40,000 free Geolocation calls.

What happens if I don’t upgrade or sign up before the 11th of June?

To put it plain and simple, you won’t be able to use the feature, you’ll receive a lovely error or watermark displayed instead which could be pretty damaging to user experience on your website.

To keep your Maps API running from the 16th of July, you’ll need to upgrade to the latest version which involves creating a Google account and registering with your credit card. This will enable you to have a new API key which will allow you, or your web designer to carry out the upgrade.

If you’d like to know more about this and Google’s individual Maps, Routes or Places products, you can read more here. To see how we can help your business with Google Maps, FL1’s tech-gods are only a phone call away on 01727 739812 and we love to talk Google…well maybe Jason or Niall more so than the rest!