The free lunch is over. Well as far as Google Maps is concerned because as of last month using the service is no longer “free”. The good news is that Google will be providing $200 worth of credit per business so that will probably cover most businesses unless they have some kind of heavy usage of their map functionality on their website which results in a lot of clicks on maps. Examples of this are “Styled Maps” where the looks has been customised by the developer over and above the normal map look say to have the location pins look better that the standard one. Also if your map uses the “Streetview” feature then you can expect to start racking up charges too. Other examples are if your map uses “Routes” (from A to B) or some kind of Geolocation feature then we dont expect the $200 credit to stretch very far. So we would expect businesses like Estate Agents, Transport or Tourism Groups where there is alot of map interactions run up hefty bills. Even if you dont have heavy traffic to your site your Google Map will no longer work without a unique API key being set otherwise your will see a “Developer Mode” message across your map. So what can you do – here are our top tips.

  1. Setup The Maps API – Your developer can do this for you to get your Google Map working again. Its a bit technical so its probably not something a business can do themselves.
  2. Change The Map – There are a range of “modes” for Google Maps to your developer can pick a mode that has the least cost impact – we recommed the Embedded Map API.
  3. Review Your Maps – Have a look to see whether you really need Google Maps on your website, whether you need so show maps frequently across different pages and see if any free alternatives will do like OpenMaps.

Googles change from the “free model” could be just the start of a move to charge users for the masses of data the internet giant has been collecting. More changes like this could be on the way – stay tuned.