Google Maps Cost: How Many Developers Will Have to Pay?

Adam DuVander
Oct. 27 2011, 01:51AM EDT

After silently listing prices in its FAQ for a few months, Google has announced plans to charge for high usage of its Google Maps API. The company is making clear policies that have been present for some time. Google Maps went enterprise in 2006 when its Premier Maps was released. Many of the largest sites using Google Maps are already paying. While some may worry about Google charging for what has been free to most developers for six years, most Google Maps sites won't be charged and those that go over will be able to pay for overages in small increments.

Sites will receive 25,000 free map views per day, which translates to 750,000 pageviews per month. Developers using more than the free limit will begin paying $4 per 1,000 pageviews. Unless high traffic sites are fully based on maps, they are unlikely to go above the limit.

Google's announcement explains how developers can determine their usage levels:

To assist in evaluating whether your site is exceeding the usage limits we will shortly be adding the Maps API to the Google APIs Console. Once available you will be able to track your usage in the APIs Console by providing an APIs Console key when you load the Maps API. If you find that your site does exceed the usage limits each day you can opt to pay for your excess usage by enabling billing on your APIs Console project. We will then start billing excess usage to your credit card when we begin enforcing the usage limits in early 2012.

The Google API console launched a year ago and provides transparency into usage limits of many of Google's APIs. The console also introduced the concept of billing to a Google account, leading the way for the for-fee translation API and this maps announcement.

The full pricing is available in the Maps FAQ. Perhaps more worrisome to developers is the pricing for Google's year-old styled maps. The innovative feature, which allows anyone to change the colors and visibility of map elements, has a much smaller limit of 2,500 map views per day. Styled maps have the same cost of $4 per 1,000 map views above the limit up to 25,000 map views. Usage above 25,000 map views then cost $8 per 1,000 map views for styled maps. The difference in rate limits translates to $90 per day, then double the price above the 25,000 number.

Unfortunately, the price for styled maps could impact many more developers. Perhaps Google is charging for what it knows is a unique feature amongst its competitors. The feature is also likely extremely computation-intensive, which means it costs Google quite a bit more to provide that service.

Google is also providing developers a reason to finally move their maps off of Google Maps V2. Overages for the old version of Google Maps costs $10 per 1,000 map views.

Adam DuVander Hi! I'm Developer Communications Director for SendGrid and former Executive Editor of ProgrammableWeb. I currently serve as a Contributing Editor. If you have API news, or are interested in writing for ProgrammableWeb, please contact editor@programmableweb.com Though I'm a fan of anything API-related, my particular interest is in mapping. I've published a how-to book, Map Scripting 101, to get anyone started making maps on websites. In a not-so-distant past life I wrote for Wired and Webmonkey.

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[...] ProgrammableWeb | Wired.com | ReadWriteWeb If a developers in your newsroom seem scarcely stressed this week, it’s substantially since Google will start charging for use of a Google Maps API after Jan. 1. “An epoch has finished for a initial API that unequivocally done mashups mainstream,” writes ReadWriteWeb’s Marshall Kirkpatrick. For simple maps, Google will concede 25,000 uses of a API giveaway per day (9.125 million a year). That drops to 2,500 per day (912,500 a year) for maps that use tradition styles. Above that, Google will start charging by a use or try to sell an “enterprise” license. According to Serdar Tumgoren, a developer during The Washington Post, that permit costs $10,000 for a million page views a year and goes adult to $40,000 for 5 million a year. [...]

omar

Well... or maybe pay... its not that much, I mean, if you are using more than 25,000 a day, you are probably making huge sums of money

This should encourage developers to look into OpenStreetMap. In many areas, data quality is as good or better than Google. Cloudmade has a similar tile API, and setting up your own server to generate map tiles for free isn't that complicated.

John

Bing Maps is still a good option. Especially now that they have the imagery from the global ortho project. They have the latest and best quality imagery of any online map.

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[...] Sin embargo, algo que no se menciona en la fuente es que mientras Google Maps sí es completamente gratuito para los usuarios finales (claro, si no consideramos que lo que damos a cambio es nuestra información personal para que nos acomoden anuncios), el servicio no es del todo gratuito para los desarrolladores, a quienes recientemente impuso un cargo si sus aplicaciones sobrepasan cierto límite de llamadas a Google Maps. [...]

[...] Sin embargo, algo que no se menciona en la fuente es que mientras Google Maps sí es completamente gratuito para los usuarios finales (claro, si no consideramos que lo que damos a cambio es nuestra información personal para que nos acomoden anuncios), el servicio no es del todo gratuito para los desarrolladores, a quienes recientemente impuso un cargo si sus aplicaciones sobrepasan cierto límite de llamadas a Google Maps. [...]

I cannot beleive that you people are crying about paying for such a helpful sight. Four dollars per 1000 views and its been free for ages! Yah I suppose you guys dont pay for music either. When were you told everything should be free? Get a grip people!Google is mapping the whole planet and you think that costs nothing? Hello!!!

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