On July 17, 2018 Google’s new pricing structure kicks in for the use of Maps, Routes, and Places. You’ll be required to create an account and a billing profile.
These changes are all part of the new Google Maps Platform. Good news is the program will help streamline a lot of existing hurdles to use Maps, Routes, and Places but the bad includes required account and billing profile.
And when they say billing profile, that means maintaining a valid credit card to cover expenses if your API usage goes over the free cap or for any of the fee-only services and connections. Here’s how google defines the free tier and related services:
Starting July 16, 2018, when you enable billing, you get $200 free usage every month for Maps, Routes, or Places. Based on the millions of users using our APIs today, most of them can continue to use Google Maps Platform for free with this credit.
You only pay for what you use. You can review rates and access your spending any time in your Google Cloud Platform Console, where you can also set daily quotas to protect against unexpected increases. You can also set billing alerts to receive email notifications when charges reach a preset threshold determined by you.
Even though the first $200 a month is free, we ask for your credit card or billing account to cover any amount you spend over this free credit. When you’re billed, we’ll credit your account for the first $200 of monthly usage. If your estimated usage will be above $200 a month and you don’t have a credit or debit card to set up a billing account, a local Google Maps Partner may be able to help.
Nonprofit organizations do receive a break, but only in the form of higher usage quotas and licensing grants (enrollment details). You’ll still need to create an account and keep credit card information on file.
- Before taking the time to set up a billing account, conduct an audit of your website(s) and verify where and how you’re using Maps, Routes, or Places.
- If Maps aren’t a critical feature, you’re likely better off removing them entirely in favor of using an outbound link to Google Maps Directions. One benefit here is this allows the site visitor’s device to handle processing the directions request using the preferred app they’ve set as the default to handle directions requests.
Simply put, while embedding a live Google map into your site can be cool, it probably isn’t contributing very much to actual conversion or overall user experience.
There are certainly exceptions to that rule, such as nonprofit arts service organizations that offer aggregated event information about member users across a large metropolitan area or state.
If you have questions, reach out to your developer and ask them if they can help you through the decision-making process.