Google Maps API introduces new pricing changes

May 8, 2018 10:27 am Published by 5 Comments

If you haven’t already heard, Google Maps have made some big changes to the way they allow the use of their Google Maps API, which our WP Google Maps plugin depends on.

In short, the following is important to note:

  1. All accounts now require a linked credit card in the Google API Console
  2. All users will get up to 28 000 map requests per month and 40 000 direction calls per month, free of charge (other rates and limits found here: https://cloud.google.com/maps-platform/pricing/sheet/).
  3. Should it be needed, NPOs can apply for discounts or grants here.
  4. Nothing is required from our users except for the fact that they will need to add a credit card to their Google Console account if they haven’t done so already

These changes will come into effect on the 11th of June 2018. Please note that the changes mentioned above have been implemented by Google and are outside of our control.

An alternative to the Google Maps API

Although the above only affects 2% of our users (in monetary terms), in order to circumvent this issue we are in the process of integrating with Open Street Maps (completely free API)In the next two weeks we will be allowing all WP Google Maps users the option of using either Google Maps or Open Street Maps interchangeably. This will also pave the way for other integrations such as Bing Maps and others.

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This post was written by Nick Duncan

5 Comments

  • Neil says:

    my understanding is you don’t get 28,000 dynamic maps and 40,000 direction calls, you actually get $200 allowance towards those products to use, pick.and mix, not mutually exclusive. it does say $200 towards their products, what has confused the issue us they give you the breakdown by product on how much much $200 credit give. I read it as “or” not “and”.
    you could end up with 14,000 maps and 20,000 directions for that allowance. i hope i. m wrong, i think it’s worse than it looks.

    also, openstreetmaps data is free, their servers aren’t (limited usage):

    look under policies -> tiles

    “OpenStreetMap data is free for everyone to use. Our tile servers are not.”

    you have limited access before getting blocked as they have a limited fair usage policy.
    you’ll need to look at setting up your own server look at switch2osm.

    i’ve been looking at solutions, even free/paid alternative use view maps based on x tiles per view.
    one test i did was 1 map load with google and over 100 map views with a competing product…. just for scrolling and zooming (4 tiles per view), ended up being worse than Google for dynamic pricing. 100 map views out of 50k, v 1 map load from 28k.. false economy.

    own server looks the way to go. still geocoding/reverse as osm is map data only.

    • Veronique says:

      Hi there.

      Thank you for bringing this to our attention. 🙂

      We will ensure to edit where applicable.

      In regards to your further questions, OpenStreetMaps tile server does implement a fair usage policy yes, we’ve followed their guidelines on caching etc. wherever possible to keep the load down as low as possible.

      When they say “our tile servers are not free” they are not implying that it’s a paid service, rather they are us to aver from overloading the server with requests.

      Requests are sent out on a per-referrer (eg per site) basis. If your site is too heavy for OSM and you find yourself blocked, then OSM is unsuitable for your use case and you’d need to find a commercial provider in any case, Google or otherwise.

      If you would like to run your own server that’s perfectly possible; we’ll be implementing controls in the near future to add options to configure this.
      If they need something more short term I can help them customise the code to use an alternative tile server

      I hope this helps? 🙂

      • acizova says:

        Hello Veronique,
        thank you for this explanation. I just need to know some more:
        1. Can you please more exactly specify what is “heavy use” for OSM? I use maps on almost every page of my website (traveling info) and during summer period my traffic is around 1000 visitors/a day and it is growing every year. Is this heavy use?
        2. If you are blocked because of heavy use by OSM is it for ever or is there any possibity to use it again (for example for some period of time). Because I use OSM also in another plugin (GPX tracks) and in case of blocking I have no other alternative than OSM for this plugin. This discourages me from trying to test your new OSM integration.
        Thank you for your help
        Best regards
        Andrea

        • acizova says:

          …(for example AFTER some period of time)…

        • Veronique says:

          Hi there,

          Unfortunately, Open Street Maps’ fair usage policy does not specify what ‘heavy use’entails. However, our developers suggest using Google where customers have a full blown store locator and anticipate people panning around a lot and performing multiple of searches and filtering. OSM is more a fallback for light users.

          I’m so sorry that we cannot advise further in regards to this.

          In regards to your second question, when blocked you would need to contact OSM directly. Their load balancing systems work in an incremental, exponential way, so if you hammer the servers you might be blocked for a few seconds, however, do it again and it’ll be a few minutes, hours, days, etc.

          I hope this helps? 🙂

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