Apps and websites that use the Google Maps API will soon have to pay $4 per 1,000 visitors Google announced today.
The visitor allowance is lower for those with styled maps (visually customised ones), who will have to pay $4 per 1,000 map loads after the first 2,500 – this goes up to $8 per 1,000 loads after 25,000 loads.
A "map load" counts as a user opening a page with the app on it. The degree to which a user interacts with a map once it has been loaded has no impact on the usage limits.
Developers who use the Maps API have three options: either bring their usage numbers down below the threshold, pay the overuse fees or cough up $10,000+ for a Google Maps API Premier licence.
The Premier licence has been around for a while, and contains added features such as advanced geocoding, customer support, and full control over advertising. The prices start at $10,000 per year, increasing according to the number of site visitors.
Sites that fail to buy a licence or enroll for the metered payment won't have their maps taken down, but if they overclock the visitor threshold regularly, a message will start to appear to users, and Google Sales will start to get in touch to "discuss licensing options".
Google is introducing a payment dashboard to help people on the pay-for-overuse model manage their visitors and payments.
Not everyone who has a Google map on their site will be affected. It's possible to embed a Google map on a site or blog without using the API – and there is nothing to indicate that that will change. ®