How Do I Optimize My Places API Usage and Billing?

Posted by Michael Sliwka, Technical Account Manager

Nov 11, 2020


It can be tough to optimize your cloud usage and spend. For example, those great Google Maps you’re sharing on your website can tally up costs quickly on a pay-as-you-go basis. All of the APIs used in those maps are billed that way.

That includes the latest edition, Google Maps Platform - Places API, which delivers a rich location-based experience by using HTTP requests to surface results. As you might guess, those requests can get costly if you don’t accurately measure and optimize your Google Maps Platform Places API usage and spend.

How Does the Places API Billing Model Work?

Google Maps APIPlaces API requests drive billing in Google Maps Platform’s pay-as-you-go model. These requests include:

  • Place Search
  • Place Details
  • Place Photos
  • Place Autocomplete
  • Query Autocomplete

Places API requests are billed at a granular level. Each request is tracked by one or more product SKUs. These requests allow you to specify what kinds of place data to return with a selection of any or all of three billing categories based on data types.

Data-type categories include Basic, Contact and Atmosphere data. Google bills each of these data types at different rates and uses different SKUs. Depending on the data type used in the request, it might trigger one of more SKUs for a single API. And, if all or no fields are used, all SKUs trigger automatically. The cost calculation formula is SKU Usage x Price per each use.

How Can I Maximize My Places API Usage and Billing?

With a pay-as-you-go billing model, it can be easy to lose track of spend and usage activity, properly managing your billing account. One way to make sure you properly manage your budget is to set daily quota limits.

calculating billsQuota limits work for all requests to any billable Google Maps API. In this case, you would set this for your Places API requests using Google Cloud Platform Console. If your Places API usage reaches quota on any given day, your app will not be able to access the API for the remainder of that billing day.

This has limitations. Shutting down an API for any length of time can hamper the usability of your overall Google Maps Platform experience. Using a comprehensive cloud billing and budget management solution, such as OnSpend by Onix, can help you better track usage and know when overages are about to occur.

With OnSpend, you can efficiently and effectively manage the budget and billing process associated with your accounts and projects, allowing you to actively visualize your Google Maps Platform usage and costs.

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Michael Sliwka, Technical Account Manager

Michael is a Technical Account Manager at Onix. His primary focus is assisting customers implement and optimize the Google Maps APIs. Michael has worked in both the for-profit and non-profit sectors in North America and abroad, where he has assisted organizations in the utilization of geolocation technology.

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