The pricing structure behind Google Maps Web Service APIs haven't always been so easy to decode. Now, Google has changed that with the rollout of its latest upgrade to the model.
The Google Maps API service offers a toolkit for developers to customize the maps, with features "including geocoding, directions, elevation for any point on earth, and snapping GPS crumbs to the road network," Ken Hoetmer, Product Manager of Google Maps APIs, noted in a blog post.
And that's where the new, flexible option comes into play — and it's being introduced as a pay-as-you-go purchasing model that's accessible though the Google Developers Console.
"In this new purchasing structure, the Google Maps Geocoding, Directions, Distance Matrix, Roads, Geolocation, Elevation, and Time Zone APIs remain free of charge for the first 2,500 requests per day, and developers may now simply pay $0.50 USD per 1,000 additional requests up to 100,000 requests per API per day. Developers requiring over 100,000 requests per day should contact us to purchase a premium license," Hoetmer explained.
As part of the upgrade and clarified terms, the company has also updated the Google Maps/Earth APIs Terms of Service that now includes payments terms and policy explanations.
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Google Maps API is a key feature for many businesses in the commerce space to gain a better understanding on particular regions when businesses are looking at a specific neighborhood. Google Maps is often used in conjunction with other technologies to better understand the makeup of a location.
For example, RetailGrade provides a retail attractiveness score to potential locations ranging from one to 100. The score is based on an algorithm that uses data points, such as population density, shopping options, entertainment attractions and the performance of existing retail stores in the vicinity.
The tool then identifies the level of “foot traffic with purchase intent” for more than 1.1 million brick-and-mortar retailers throughout the U.S.
“Today, the photos do help to get an idea of the space, but most people will also look at Google Maps to get an understanding of the street or the neighborhood,” Storefront Co-founder Erik Eliason said in an interview. “A lot of folks will even visit the store first, because in retail each street (and each section of the street) really matters.”