Pay for Google Maps? What?

Jay Holtslander

So, you’ve caught wind of a rumour that Google is charging money for Google Maps usage? Don’t panic! It’s not what it sounds like.

You will not need to pay to view or use Google Maps as a user. But if you have an app or a website that uses Google Maps intensively, Google will bill you fairly.

The people that will be affected by the new billing model are businesses like Starbucks or Canada Post that may use embedded maps tens of thousands of times a day or an hour. Not the small business that displays a map to 20 people a day.

Beginning in July, website owners that have Google Maps on their websites will be required to keep a credit card on file within the Google Maps Platform’s dashboard in case their websites require more than 2,000,000 embedded map views/day or more than 25,000 API requests/day. In other words, if your site gets fewer that 2 million views/day you are not going to be charged.

For this reason Skunkworks will need to enter your credit card with Google.

First, some background

Google’s announcement post said:

We’re excited to announce Google Maps Platform—the next generation of our Google Maps business.

Once you enable billing, you will gain access to your $200 of free monthly usage to use for our Maps, Routes, and Places products. As your business grows or usage spikes, our plan will scale with you.

The new Google Maps Platform consists of several products like Maps, Routes, and Places It’s the use of these products that allows website owners to put Google Maps on their websites and allow people to get directions using Google Maps.

Answers to your questions

Can I still use Google Maps Platform for free?

Yes. Starting July 16, 2018, when you enable billing, you get $200 free usage every month for Maps, Routes, or Places. Based on the millions of users using Google’s APIs today, most users can continue to use Google Maps Platform for free with this credit.

Why Is a credit card or billing account required?

Even though the first $200 a month is free, Google asks for your credit card or billing account to cover any amount you spend over this free credit. When you’re billed, they will credit your account for the first $200 of monthly usage. If your estimated usage will be above $200 a month and you don’t have a credit or debit card to set up a billing account, Skunkworks may be able to help by setting up a static map image substitution or removing the map completely (although we do not recommend this last option).

What is the pricing if I were to exceed the $200 monthly free credit?

You only pay for what you use. Skunkworks can review rates and access your spending any time in the Google Cloud Platform Console, where we can also set daily quotas to protect against unexpected increases. Billing alerts can also be set to receive email notifications when charges reach a preset threshold determined by you. Google’s pricing page can be viewed here.

What if we use an image of a map instead of an embedded Google map?

This option is 100% free. Even if you were to have millions of views an hour. Clicking the image of the map can take people to Google Maps at https://maps.google.com and it will cost you $0.00 because the Maps Platform API is not involved.

Pros

  • Easy to implement.
  • Easily styleable.
  • Ensures no overage charges will ever be incurred under any circumstances.

Cons

  • Non-interactive.
  • Takes the user to Google Maps in a new tab.

Bear in mind that if this solution were even close to necessary, it would mean that your business is doing so incredibly well that you’d probably need more offices and staff to keep up with demand.

Or:

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