What You Need to Know About the Google Maps API Update

November 26, 2018

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Big news: if you have a map powered by Google on your website, now you’re going to have to pay for it. If you want to continue displaying your company’s location via Google Maps on your business website, you will have to start paying according to Google’s announcement of its pay-as-you-go pricing plan that is now in full effect.

You might be wondering why Google decided to make this shift. Ultimately, it was only a matter of time before Google made this change. Google is in a constant process of trying to streamline its offerings and provide better service to users. Fortunately, customer support is included in the cost.

3 Main Changes to Know

1) Now you need a valid API key and a Google Cloud Platform billing account to access the core Google Maps APIs.

2) All of the individual APIs Google Maps provided previously are now consolidated into these 3 products:

– Maps

– Routes

– Places

3) Every single website owner with a Google Map embedded on his/her website needs to provide a credit card to pay for the cost.

Google is offering all developers $200 in free credit towards Google Maps fees to get them started. The prices depend on which product is used and total monthly usage (calculated at the end of every month).

You can use Google’s calculator to get an idea of what you will need to (or not need) to pay. Or, click here for some helpful charts to visually break down the pricing for the three products.

What This Will Change For Your Website

The Google Maps API change won’t change anything for your website as long as you don’t mind the possibility of having to pay a monthly fee. Having an embedded Google Map on your website can be a positive search engine ranking signal if it significantly improves the user experience on your site.

Otherwise, whether or not you decide to showcase your company’s location using Google Maps directly on your website does not have a strong impact on your business’s success online.

Some members of the web development community will sound alarms, but at the end of the day, it’s just another adjustment to get used to. There are alternatives to Google Maps (i.e. OpenStreet Map) but it’s probably in your best interest to stick with Google Maps.

To Wrap It Up…

Just like any other Google search bot or algorithm changes, Google will continue to change which of its technology and data service offerings are free and which require a fee. When you and your team are aware of these changes, you can stay ahead of the curve.

Thankfully, many changes in service offerings will benefit us as users in the long run. Instead of taking an alarmist’s approach to Google updates, it’s wise to take the changes in stride and simply adapt to them as quickly as possible.

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