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GOOGLE HAS BEEN AC­CUSED OF THROW­ING WEB­SITES INTO TUR­MOIL WITH A SE­RIES OF CHANGES TO THE WAY IT CHARGES FOR ITS MAPS API

PC & Tech Authority - - CONTENTS -

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.

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