Google Introduces Charging Structure for Maps API
From January 2012 Google will extend the recently introduced daily usage limit on the popular Google Maps API (Application Programming Interface) by introducing a charging structure for implementations that exceed the daily limit. The Google Maps API is used on many websites and in software applications to provide geo-based information for purposes of including information regarding a company location, travelling directions, and other points of interest.
Earlier this year Google changed its Maps API Terms of Service documentation, see Google Maps/Google Earth APIs Terms of Service, to introduce a usage limit on the API from the 1st October 2011 but from January 2012 the new mechanism will launch. There are several rates listed for going over the daily Google Maps API limit depending on which implementation is in operation. For example a site using JS Maps API v2 can utilise up to 25,000 views per days but going over that limit could incur a charge of $10 per 1,000 views. An application implementing the Static Maps API can utilise up to 2,500 views per day with a $4 per 1,000 views charge for exceeding that limit.
This is quite important, strategically speaking, as Google Maps has become almost a defacto standard for implementing embedded maps on, say a company website to illustrate the location of a business, and in particular many mobile apps may have the technology incorporated as part of their core functionality so it will become even more important to monitor the daily usage of accesses to the API. The BBC recently reported that this is likely to “only affect 0.35% of users”. For an idea of what 0.35% may mean, in real terms of actual websites implementing the API, Builtwith.com trends web customers using Google Maps and say that there are currently 1,115,421 of their customer websites utilising the Google Maps API. So, 0.35% of those customers alone equates to around 3,900 websites.
Google have said that non-profits and public interest sites do not need to worry too much as they “are not subject to these usage limits” – although these are purely at Google’s discretion.
Google currently have just under 100 API’s available for public use and it looks feasible that more of these may follow Maps into a usage based charging structure, some of the current API’s include access to Google Earth, YouTube, Calendar, Analytics, and Picasa.
For more information head over to Google Geo Developers Blog: Introduction of usage limits to the Maps API.