The New Google Maps Platform: What Does It All Mean?
Last year Google introduced a new generation of Google Maps, now known as Google Maps Platform. It includes updates designed to make it easier to take advantage of new maps and location-based features. It also includes major billing and pricing changes.
Since 2005, Google Maps has been a developer platform where third parties can build from Google’s location services and data. This announcement was one of the biggest changes to the platform in recent years.
All Google Maps developers must have a valid API key and a Google Cloud Platform billing account. Already rolled out in the United States, these new changes recently went into effect in Canada. Here’s what you need to know.
The new Google Maps Platform is streamlining its 18 individual Google Maps APIs into three core products: Maps, Routes and Places.
Here is the breakdown of each:
Developers can build customized, agile experiences depicting the real world in static and dynamic maps. This feature also includes Street View imagery and 360-degree views.
Users will be provided with the best way to travel from Point A to Point B, thanks to high quality directions — and real-time traffic updates.
With rich location data for more than 100 million locations, Places allows users to find specific destinations using phone numbers, addresses and real-time signals.
Based on the most common developer uses cases, this consolidation is intended to make it easier to “find, explore and add new features” to apps, with existing code continuing to work as it usually does.
Pricing and Billing Changes
As part of this update, Google is also changing how it charges for access to these APIs. It now offers a single pricing plan with access to free support. This differs dramatically from the previous plans, business standard and premium. Both now are consolidated into this one pay-as-you-go plan. Under this new billing arrangement, developers pay only for what they use. There are no annual payments, up-front commitments, termination fees or usage limits. All of this comes with free customer support.Users also have access to a “free tier” that gives all developers a $200 monthly credit. Google says it expects this tier will cover usage needs for about 98 percent of its current customers.
And what’s more, the new Google Maps Platform pricing will scale with you as your usage spikes or your business grows, with the assurance that Google Maps’ global infrastructure means that you will have excellent capacity, reliability and performance. This new approach might be the start of good things for Google and location-based services. The Google Maps Platform eases some of the stressful changes to Google Maps that API free usage levels have caused. It will make life easier for users in the long run.
And, because Google Maps Platform integrates with Google Cloud Platform Console, it will be easier for you to track usage and manage projects. You just might even discover new, innovative Cloud products in the process. A Maps API implementation is the way to get this started.