GOOGLE HAS BEEN ACCUSED OF THROWING WEBSITES INTO TURMOIL WITH A SERIES OF CHANGES TO THE WAY IT CHARGES FOR ITS MAPS API
Google has been accused of throwing websites into turmoil with a series of changes to the way it charges for its Maps API
In a move widely criticised in web development forums, Google reduced how much sites could use the Maps API without payment, and massively bumped up the price for 1,000 map loads from 50 cents to $7.
The move has seen rafts of websites abandon Google’s offering in favour of rival providers such as Apple Maps, Mapbox and TomTom, causing signi cant pain for web developers.
“Google decided to make Maps its next billion dollar business by raising prices 14 times and decreasing the free usage limit almost 30 times, all with minimal notice period,” explained Tomasz Nawrocki in a blog post from the German pharmacynder service In der Apotheke.
According to the pharmacy locator, the changes would have seen its costs for mapping leap from
$0 to $5,000 per month, a gure that dwarfed all its other infrastructure outgoings of $1,300. Meanwhile, the free usage limit dropped from 750,000 monthly requests to 28,000.
Google had warned about the price increases, but the scale of the changes came as a shock to many, especially given the complexity of Google’s pricing structure.
One hobby site owner we spoke to said he thought he would have to shut his pages down when he realised it would cost $6,000 a year. “There are so many different elements to the way it charges I had no idea how much it was going to be – the way it charges it’s very, very dif cult (almost purposefully) to work it out, which is why I gave up and decided to wait the three months notice period to see what happened,” said Rob Clarkson, owner of tsports site groundmap. com.
“For me, based on last year’s traf c it was going to be $6,000 – it’s just prohibitively expensive and there’s no way I or anyone else running a similar site would be able to afford that sort of money,” Clarkson explained.
Instead, Clarkson switched map feeds to Mapbox, which will cost in the region of $500 a year.
The change involved a day’s work to switch from one provider to another, “which was annoying and I’d rather have spent the time doing something else,” said Clarkson.
Google has yet to respond to the widespread criticism, but said on its developer site that: “The new plan gives you more exibility and control over how you use our APIs. You can use as much or as little as you need and only pay for what you use each month.” Assuming you can afford it.