Google Maps

Google’s new API (application program interface) for maps is likely to have a significant impact on your small business. In July of 2018, Google announced a new, paid API for desktop and mobile devices. They’ve included a $200 monthly credit for the service, but if your business uses this feature extensively, you’re likely to feel the impact of this recent change. Essentially, they’ve reduced usage from 750,000 monthly map loads to 25,000.

The Industry Standard

Google became the industry standard by providing website visitors the contextual information they need to find your business with embedded static or interactive maps. Street View and high resolution satellite imagery gives you the opportunity to create a more engaging experience with additional detail. Google maps provides over 25 million updates from over 1,000 sources every single day, giving your users the up-to-date information they need, when they need it.

  • 99% coverage of the world

  • 25 million daily updates

  • 1 billion monthly active users

From ride-sharing to route services, Google Maps is the industry standard in location services. With its seamless integration into your website and Google My Business listing, it provides the best and most comprehensive option for your business.

Here’s the Breakdown

The previous Google Maps API is being consolidated into three broad segments – Maps, Routes, and Places.

Their Standard and Premium plans have been merged into one pay-as-you-go pricing plan. Significant increases are being reported by developers, a 1,400% increase on average. While no direct comparisons are being offered by Google (for obvious reasons) that figure is likely to have a significant impact on businesses.

All projects will need valid API keys, as has always been the case. Beginning June 11, however, keyless access is no longer supported. Keyless calls to the Maps JavaScript API and Street View API will return low-resolution maps with “for development purposes only” watermark boldly displayed.

As we’ve experienced, an API cannot be obtained without first creating a billing account and providing Google with your credit card information. This is now the case for ALL users – even those who only wish to have a single, static map on their contact page. They don’t auto-bill, but it’s very much still an intimidating step to provide payment information for a service without any knowledge of what to expect for billing.

Prior to this development, users were allowed 25,000 map loads per day. For free. The new pricing structure includes a $200 credit, which will cover 25,000 map loads – per month.

Our Hot Take

Google created a near monopoly in this market segment and now they’re looking to capitalize. The impact on businesses and developers will be significant – every business with an existing Google map (and/or Google Maps API) on their site will be affected. While Google has confirmed that they’ll make setting caps on your monthly expenditure easy, that doesn’t resolve the issue of non-functional maps on your website once you hit your quota. We’re looking for new open-source providers to pop up in the next 12 months, and will work with clients to find a workable solution in the meantime.

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