Google has introduced a major update to its Google Maps API platform facilitating API access to Google developers in addition to the pay-as-you-go billing strategy. The Google Maps Platform, as officially named, is claimed to be one of the biggest changes to the platform in recent years.
The revamp of Google Maps API aims to simplify developer offerings and promises streamlined API products, consolidated pricing plan, free support, innovative industry solutions, and a simplified customer experience. However, there are certain caveats concerning the rollout. Starting June 11, in order to access the core APIs, Google Maps developers must hold a valid API key and a Google Cloud Platform billing account.
Introduced by Google back in 2005, Google Maps has largely stayed the same. The APIs have, however, undergone complex changes with each release focused on solving the mapping problems.
Launch of Google Maps Platform is supposed to address this by scaling along with increasing usage and business expansion.
Google Map APIs
The core APIs are primarily integrated by developers to build location-based applications and experiences. With this new initiative, Google intends to scale down the complexity of these APIs in terms of usage and experience. Good news for developers here is that the changes are designed to work with the existing code. Hence, no changes are required from developer’s end.
As per the Google Maps Platform rollout, the company is planning to combine the 18 Individual Google Map APIs that are currently offered in three core products – Maps, Routes, and Places. Here is a synopsis on each of them.
- Maps – A web mapping application developed by Google offering satellite imagery, 360 degree street views, real-time traffic conditions, and route planning. Google Maps offers an API allowing it to be embedded on third-party websites, thus, bringing real world to the website users via maps.
- Routes – Provides reliable directions anywhere in the world. Helps users to find the best way to get from A to Z backed up with comprehensive data and real-time traffic.
- Places – Builds visibility and lets users discover the world with rich location data for more than 100 million locations. Users can find specific places with the help of contact details, like phone number or address, and other real-time signals.
As part of the update, Google has revamped the pricing and billing strategy pertaining to API access. Until this rollout, the company offered standard and premium plan. However, it will now offer a consolidated pay-as-you-go plan with free access to support. Moreover, free monthly usage worth 200$ is credited to the developers which is expected to cover the usage of 98% of the customers.
FREE MONTHLY USAGE ($200 value)
PRICE PER THOUSAND CALLS
|Monthly volume range||Load Detail||0 – 100,000||100,001+|
|Native Static Maps||Unlimited loads||$0.00||$0.00|
|Native Dynamic Maps||Unlimited loads||$0.00||$0.00|
|Embed Advanced||Up to 14,000 loads||$14.00||$11.20|
|Static Maps||Up to 100,000 loads||$2.00||$1.60|
|Dynamic Maps||Up to 28,000 loads||$7.00||$5.60|
|Static Street View||Up to 28,000 panos||$7.00||$5.60|
|Dynamic Street View||Up to 14,000 panos||$14.00||$11.20|
In order to meet the end-goal of easier usage tracking and managing products for developers, Google Maps Platform has been integrated with Google Cloud Platform. Also, the company has committed to offering 24 hour online support with one hour response time for critical issues. Although support will not be offered on weekends.
Map-centric Industry Solutions
Google plans to continue launching industry-specific offerings. Earlier this year, the company launched its first offering for game developers allowing them to build real-world games on Google Maps data. Similarly, two more products have been announced recently – one for ridesharing and other for asset tracking.
The former offering allows ridesharing companies, like Lyft, to embed Google Maps navigation into their apps. The latter one facilitates in locating vehicles and assets in real time, track vehicle routes, and visualize where the assets have traveled. Google promises to offer similar insightful and expert solutions in the course of time.
Occasionally, Google Maps API has been a divisive issue, especially during times when the company has revised its free usage policy. However, with this announcement, the Google Maps team seems to be headed in the right direction.