back to article Google Maps API now costs $4 per 1,000 requests

Apps and websites that use the Google Maps API will soon have to pay $4 per 1,000 visitors Google announced today. There is an allowance for small sites – the first 25,000 map-loads a day are free. The toll has been on the way since Google updated the Maps API's Terms of Service in April and was scheduled to kick in at the …

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  1. Pink Duck

    If only OpenStreetMap.org was up to the job.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Devil

    but..but...

    There's no problem, right? Because Google is open, so you can just hack the source code or whatever and you won't need to pay for anything, just like on Android. Or is this a case of Google being 'disruptive' in areas where competitors hope to make a profit (Android), and turning into Microsoft for those areas where it has a near-monopoly?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      OpenStreetMap

      It does the job for me - using OpenLayers with OpenStreetMap tiles gives me a far, far better map than I get with Google. And no blasted ads, either.

    2. HollyHopDrive
      Megaphone

      Muppet!

      You total muppet. At what point did google actually say that maps was free or open source?

      I'm not saying google are angels, because that wouldn't be true, but in the scheme of tech companies they are far from the worst.

      They are giving plenty away for free, and those who need more are clearly making a profit somewhere along the line be it ad clicks or whatever. So why shouldn't google take a bit of that? I'm not saying that its overly cheap or whatever, but its fairly transparent pricing and they are being pretty up front about it. And lets be honest, that can't be a cheap service to run.

      At the end of the day, they aren't trying to lock you in to them, you are free to choose. Once thing google don't seem to really do is lock you in.

      Get over yourself, and remember that they are a business, just like microsoft, oracle etc etc.

      I bet you wouldn't give somebody something for free if you thought they were going to make money from it. So stop getting your knickers in a twist about it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        yeah, right

        And cue the inevitable feeble excuses for Google by the Android obsessives. It's time to let all this free and open nonsense go and face up to the fact that not only have Google just copied iOS, they are now trying to copy Apple's business model too. There is nothing wrong with this, any company with common sense would basically copy Apple at this moment in time, it's just all the self delusion that they are trying to do something different that bothers me (i.e fully customisable OS, AKA unfinished product consisting of various odds and ends thrown together).

        1. Grease Monkey

          One more time for the hard of thinking: What has this story to do with Android?

        2. sisk Silver badge

          "Google just copied iOS"

          BS. Android was in development long before the iPhone was released.

          "they are now trying to copy Apple's business model too"

          No, Apple's business model is to make sure you can't go anywhere but Apple for all your needs. Google is merely starting to charge for a service that costs them a fortune to run. Which, by the way, is NOT a feeble argument. I've been in the boat of having to start charging for something I had been giving away myself.

          "any company with common sense would basically copy Apple"

          And no company with a shred of business ethics would ever copy Apple's exploitive business model. Ever.

          But hey, have your little fantasy world where it's perfectly ok to take 30% out of the pockets of developers after telling them what language they have to use and what kinds of apps they're allowed to write. Along with it, keep your phone with it's one-size-fits-all-because-Apple-says-so interface and the inability to access a huge chunk of the web. You're welcome to it and that's your choice. It's the only one you get with them.

          I'll keep mine, with the interface that I, not Apple, choose to use and the apps that I, not some micromanaging entity, choose from whatever source I, not some company 2000 miles away, choose to trust, including the ones I wrote and put on my own phone without having to fork over $90 to the company that made my phone for a developer's license.

          1. Mark 65 Silver badge

            That low latency architecture that users rely on costs them money to run, as does sending cars around photographing the world. Asking people to pay shouldn't be an issue.

          2. Confuciousmobil
            Coat

            Check out...

            The YouTube video of the public announcement of Androidin 2007.

            It really was nothing like a modern OS, it was all changed after copying iOS. It was flexible enough to do so but to deny that it did is to ignore the facts.

            1. Grease Monkey

              Will you please shut up about Android. This is a story about Google Maps API.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              To say that it is copying iOS is to ignore the fact that it neither looks nor runs anything like iOS....unless, of course, you think having a virtual keyboard and icons qualifies as copying.

    3. Spearchucker Jones
      Go

      OpenStreetmap is up to the job.

      And if you're worried about business continuity, then plug maps.nokia.com in as well. User chooses a default, and the other is there as a backup.

      All of them use the same projection anyway.

      1. Semaj
        Unhappy

        Might be different now but when I looked into Open Streetmap (and other solutions too), the main problem I came up against was the lack of SSL support. Generally it turned out that if you needed that, Google or Bing turned out cheaper anyway.

        In the end we ended up going for a horribly clunky, hacked together and probably dodgy Google solution.

        1. Grease Monkey

          Openstreetmap just won't do the job. The Google maps API does so much more. Take, for example, all those free solar panel sites where you do a lookup of your postcode and then drop a push pin into the roof of your house in the aerial photograph.

          Openstreetmap can't even do postcodes with much accuracy let alone aerial photographs.

          1. Spearchucker Jones

            @Grease Monkey

            That depends on what you define as a job. You're describing an application, rather than a specific function (tiled maps).

            Searching for post codes is not the same as downloading and rendering tiles. Similarly, pushpins are something you can either code yourself of create a mashup using OSM and the pushpins from maps.nokia.com (which does all of these things anyway).

        2. Semaj
          WTF?

          Why the down vote?

          I'd love to know why I got down-voted for this ... I wasn't even ragging on OpenStreetMap - I actually think it's good. The point is though that SSL on it just wasn't feasible for us. If I missed something please tell me what.

  3. hopeless
    Thumb Up

    Actually, this is better

    Previously, the only approved commercial usage of the Google Maps API for private sites/subscription service etc was the $10,000/yr premier licence. There was nothing below this level. Public site were fine, but you couldn't include Google Maps on a commercial site. So, if you made a small subscription site you had two choices: flout the Google maps licence and hope they didn't sue you or cut you off; or stump up $10,000 which could easily wipe out your profits.

    So this is a great announcement! It give us clarity and a very generous free quota.

  4. Andy Mabbett

    Open Street Map remains - and will always remain - free.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      eh?

      ive been using it commerically for ages in some of my php apps. we are only a small business so it shows things like all our projects on a map of europe.

      are you telling me i had to pay £10k for this?

      1. HMB

        Guess you didn't read the article properly. You get a free allowance (25,000 or 2,500 depending if you visually customised it) and then you're expected to pay $4 per 1000 users.

        If you're a small business I doubt you'll go over your free allowance. If you are going over 25,000 lookups a day, don't pretend you're a small business.

      2. Steve Mills
        Stop

        RTFM

        Until now if your site was not freely available to the public - ie you had to pay to subscribe to the site or the site was limited to a certain set of users, e.g. Your company employees, then the terms of service forbade you from using the free api and you should have been using the premier api at cost of around £7700.

        I need to read the new terms but it actually may be cheaper now for some people.

        Spoken as someone who has done commercial implementations of google maps with corporate CRM and sales systems.

      3. hopeless
        Thumb Up

        Yes

        Yep! But at least now you've got a large number of map views free per day and an easy path to pay for me

    2. Grease Monkey

      And at the moment hopelessly incomplete.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Linux

        Yes, but we (all of us) can fix that.

        Now that Google is going to start charging for moderately large sites, there is some incentive to do so.

  5. Ian McLaughlin
    Unhappy

    Bing Maps still free?

    that will do for now

  6. TeeCee Gold badge
    Devil

    Business model.

    1) Free sample.

    2) Bigger free sample.

    3) When customer is hopelessly hooked to product, charge for it.

    Next week: A consortium of crack peddlars launch a class action against Google over the theft of their IP.

  7. Seanie Ryan
    Black Helicopters

    dont be evil

    Just get the world + dog to use your free service and then start charging them.

    how long before they do this to other 'free' services?

    not so "cool" , are they now?

    BTW, i dont disagree to the charge, just think this is going to change how people view them

  8. Ol'Peculier
    Thumb Down

    Two sides...

    Heavy usage sites will be running adverts/other income streams alongside. It's a large chunk of money, but if you use the map data for commercial purposes, then you've got to assume it will not be free for ever.

    Mind, I run a small site for a network of UK running clubs, and the site is quite map heavy, a different one on each page. I'd only need a handful of people looking at details of every club for me to hit that threshold. That might make me change my mind :(

    1. Alien Doctor 1.1

      Screengrabs

      If all you provide are maps for the location of clubs why not just use screengrabs?

    2. Random Handle

      Embedded Google Maps are free, can't you just use them?

      1. ishmal
        Thumb Up

        Yes

        For a lot of tasks, that is exactly the answer. Simply embed a map with the proper sizes and coordinates, and let your browser app add any specific stuff you want.

    3. Ru
      Linux

      Just use OpenLayers?

      Has a whole bunch of supported data sources. Bing, Google, Yahoo, OSM, whatever. Abstraction and vendor independence FTW, as always.

    4. Robert E A Harvey
      Unhappy

      But there is nothing evil about giving free samples before selling things.

      or if there is, we will have to exorcise Persil, Kenco, and garages that let you have a weekend-long test drive.

      Oh hang on. At least one of those is evil, isn't it?

    5. Asgard
      Boffin

      @"Free then charge for it"

      Ok before the "No such thing as a free lunch" brigade pipe up, the lunch until now has been payed for by Google's advertising and lets face it, Google have grown very profitable from doing just that, but now they are getting more greedy. That is going to back fire, big time.

      Up until this year Google's business model has been basically give it away for free, then use the data drawn in for advertising. That's ok and lets face it, Google profits have been very good up until now at doing exactly that. This freeness has in turn encouraged many developers to build onto Google's API's which in turn has been sending even more data to Google. Google's been loving this because they are getting ever more data to datamine, in an ever increasing number of ways, not least of which gaining huge profits from advertising.

      However now we are seeing a new Google. A more greedy Google seeking to have it all ways against developers and its going to back fire on Google big time in the eyes of small developers. Google's greedy managers seem to forget most developers are one or two coder businesses acting as a small business start up. Most of the apps on Android for example are made by one or two developers (and most are barely profitable). Therefore most of the data Google is drawing in is coming from apps written by these developers. That is going to stop now. Small start ups need to know their costs up front to even evaluate the viability of their business model to see if they can even earn a living. Well now Google have just wiped out the majority of them and put others on notice using other parts of Google to back away from Google before Google move the goal posts again. Sure a few will have $10k+ per year to pay Google, but the vast majority won't have any where near that much money.

      So Google will loose out from existing apps, (either being abandoned and not supported or being withdrawn completely), but its even worse than that for Google, because just think how many new apps would have been written to use Google's APIs and now will either not be written or will be written with only open API's completely bypassing Google's new found greed. Google will loose more than they will gain from fleecing developers now, but then I guess as a company ages the greedy power hungry Office politics types take over and they don't think about anyone but themselves and they want to change everything into a more controlled and greed obsessed organization. Its why older organizations are often less fun to work for as the office politics types by that time infest most of the company with their power hungry rules and narrow minded greed.

      Well now, Google have just destroyed any enthusiasm to use any of their server side code base for a lot of developers. That in turn means far fewer apps being written to use Google's server API's but at least its a big and far better opening for competitors against Google, which is a good thing for everyone but Google. I thought Google's high up managers were smarter but clearly not.

      There is no way I would now ever risk using one of their server side API's or services even if they say its free (now) because Google have now shown they are willing to change their thinking later and so undermine developers after luring them in with the belief its free, not as in a free lunch, but free as in that free lunch is already paid for by the considerable advertising money Google have been up until now earning.

      As a small developer myself the Google message is now abundantly clear. From this point on, I will never use or ever even consider using any Google server side API or service from this point on simply because I cannot base any start up on such deep uncertainty as Google are now showing they are willing to inflict on small developers. They are killing their golden goose, which is many small developers working for Google and the profits Google will earn from fleecing the developers will be small compared with the money Google will loose from pushing hundreds of thousands of developers to take alternative routes away from Google API's. Its a good thing really, but not for Google.

      So Google's greed has just shot themselves in the foot. If they come out with a pricing model from day one and do it up front and explicitly clear, locked in writing, then ok, we can work with that, (if its even financially viable), but this free and then we will think about what to charge you later has got to stop. It isn't a viable way for any new start ups to ever risk using any Google's services from this point on.

      1. Danny 14 Silver badge
        Pint

        waaaah?

        can someone paraphrase, cant be arsed reading.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          I read about halfway (it repeats itself a couple of times) and lost interest when I hit the word 'lose' spelled 'loose'.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    UK Alternative

    Take a look at Ordnance Survey -> OS OpenSpace as a potential alternative and support UK enterprise instead of Google garbage.

  10. Liam Thom
    Unhappy

    I said God Damn!

    God damn the pusher man.

    1. Colin Millar
      Coat

      Yeah - I remember that

      That naive distinction they made between dealers and pushers

      If the Wolf was around today they'd be iTards

  11. KeithSloan
    Thumb Down

    Trouble with Stuff in the Cloud.

    This is one of the main problems of cloud computing - People changing the rules and the prices. Google, Spotify they are all the same. Take care what you move to the cloud and what you use it for.

  12. Jolyon Ralph

    Bing not free

    Sadly Bing has a limit of 500,000 free maps PER YEAR which is even worse than Google.

    This is a fucking nasty move by Google. I note there is no exceptions for not-for-profit sites or other information sites that can't afford to pay the rates Google want us to pay.

  13. Asgard
    WTF?

    $4 per 1,000 visitors?!

    This greed is madness, it will kill almost all apps which use Google Maps.

    Its not hard to imagine creating a mobile phone app which is downloaded way more times than is bought by a few people. The income the app developer gets would be no where nearly enough to pay $4 per 1,000 map visitors. They could easily have 100000 users using the app per day, but they won't be paying users.

    Looks like developers need to create and support more open source map services to bypass Google's greed driven moving goal posts.

  14. Tony Barnes
    Thumb Up

    Seems fair enough to me

    I use the API on a few sites, all with tediously low traffic compared to the threshold mentioned here. Given the data shunted, and processing cycles used, it's fair enough that folk should pay for it - weird that it has been free for so long if you ask me!!

    As for maps loading on the page and 'robbing' your allowance when people don't use them, just stick in a placeholder image and use jQuery to replace it with the actual map if someone clicks on it - not the most daunting of tasks.

    1. Random Handle

      > note there is no exceptions for not-for-profit sites

      Yes there are, provided they are run by a Registered Charity or Not-For-Profit Company - you can get most Google services free - Apps, Checkout, Earth Pro, $10K+ a month of free AdWords etc....

      1. Danny 14 Silver badge
        Go

        indeed

        and that includes schools. they are fairly easy to register with too.

    2. Babai
      Happy

      First 25000 hit is FREE (PER DAY)

      For first 25000 hit/per Day is free.

      If its more than that , then you'll be charged $4/1000 hit

      But for Styled maps, the FREE limit is reduced to 2500 only.

      Check out TOS : http://code.google.com/apis/maps/faq.html#tos_pricing

      It'll be costly for huge/commercial sites, but individual like me will be spared.

      FYI, my humble site gets daily hits of ~3000, which is way less than 25000 hits.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      fail_32.png

      ...AFTER the first daily 25k

    4. HollyHopDrive
      Stop

      If you've got 100,000 customers then paying 10k to google for a licence seems fair to me. If you app relies on it then 10c per customer on your $2 app doesn't seem harsh. Lets be honest, you, (as a developer) couldn't put that kind of service together for that kind of money.

      Water can to be free if I want to use rainwater. However, the tap is just more convenient. It saves me having to build and run my own water processing plant! Therefore I'm happy to pay for the convenience and economy of outsourcing the hard work.

  15. mraak
    Thumb Down

    Don't be evil

    I guess lurring people into using your FREE product, then start charging them is not considered evil. In some tribal cultures of the world that must be true.

  16. Tom 7 Silver badge

    The first 25,000 map-loads a day are free

    now try and get that from a phone service or even your ISP.

    If my site got that many hits I'd be able to pay for the next 1000 by paypall via my gold Iphone from a carribean beach.

    As evil goes that pretty much talking about it over a pint.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      luring ?

      TANSTAAFL

      Maybe they should change their slogan to "Don't be naive"

  17. Jolyon Ralph

    Crap

    Well, I have a site that does 300,000 pages a day, and that certainly doesn't make anywhere near enough money to pay these rates.

  18. The Fuzzy Wotnot
    Unhappy

    That's the Photographer's Ephemeris knackered then!

    I love using the Photographer's Ephemeris ( uses Google Maps API ), superb tool it was too on desktop and iPhone for finding the sunrise/sunset directions of any given location!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Then I would say if you site depends on somebody elses hard work and you never thought that you may have to pay for it then the business model for your website is flawed.

      No such thing as a free lunch....

    2. hopeless

      Native iPhone apps have long been covered by a agreement between Apple and Google.

    3. hopeless

      It sounds like you should have been paying the $10,000 premier licence anyway -- it was never free to use commercially

  19. JDX Gold badge

    Thieving Scum

    Wanting to charge for their software. Quick, call Stallman.

    In other news - will this open up a way to attack a website by forcing it to make loads of API calls and incur a bill?

    1. HMB

      I called Stallman on the hotline. He says it's time to ditch android and program the CPU registers of the phone manually.

      To quote someone else...

      "Not that big of a deal"

  20. Jon Press

    Can you impose a charging ceiling?

    The FAQ simply refers to "automated billing of excess map loads" - nothing about whether you can put a cap on the monthly charge. If the containing page gets cached somewhere can you reliably control the user count?

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Well, I have a site that does 300,000 pages a day, and that certainly doesn't make anywhere near enough money to pay these rates."

    ... and you can't even make a bit of cash out of it! Jeez.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    FSCK this - I'm angry and I'm..

    oh wait...

    free lunch. ain't no such thing as.

    I was wondering how long it would take before Google did the inevitable - no surprises here, obvious really.

    For the small sites, it will be business as usual - lets face it, 25,000 hits and you *should* be getting enough revenue from your site to cover that kinda cost - it's not rocket sites.

    Shit, if your getting those hits and above on a commercial site, your laughing - do the math, chuck some ads on the site, work the web - not exactly rocket science.

    I think Google have been more than fair about this - anyone with half a brain always knew it was going to happen.

    The impact is going to be minimal - the only people who will get socked by it, are commercial apps and websites that get big hits without any decent commercial plan.

  23. ishmal
    Holmes

    Not a problem for a lot of sites

    I have seen at least two sites that use the Maps API for almost trivial things. (Coordinate conversion, shifting for time zone, etc) They could easily delegate that work to the client. There has simply not been a reason until now.

    For example, there is nothing stopping you from doing your own client-side overlays on a Google Map.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Just get the world + dog to use your free service and then start charging them."

    No surprise there.

    It's amazingly naive that people thing all this should and will be free, forever...

  25. Tim Bates

    Sounds OK to me.

    Let's all be fair here - Google spends money making those maps available. The sites hitting it 25,000 times a day or more and almost certainly making money using Google Maps (I know some exceptions apply). So let's be fair here and see Google recover some of their costs from the people using it to make money.

    I was actually a little worried by the headline - 2 sites I maintain for small businesses using the maps API to show a map of the business location. Wasn't keen on the annoyance factor of having to arrange about $4 a year to keep them there.

  26. jaminbob
    Meh

    Arrrgghhhh

    How on earth am I going to get all this set up through local gov procurement. Oh my goodness...

  27. JDX Gold badge

    300,000 pages a day

    If nothing else, this will help people running sites realise when their business model has flaws... if you can't even cover these costs something isn't right.

  28. sisk Silver badge

    Meh

    25.000 page loads a day? That's more than we get on our entire site, let alone the two pages that have maps on them. No worries for us then. If you were getting that many you probably should have been paying their commercial usage fee anyway.

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