Google set to enforce Map API limitations
Google set to enforce Map API usage limitations and fees by early next year. REUTERS

Early next year, Google will start charging websites for the heavy use of its Maps APIs, the programming that allows access to Google Maps on non-Google websites.

Maps usage limitations, announced earlier in April, involve the enforcement of fees for Maps loaded more than 25,000 times per day, according to Google's blog post about the Maps APIs pricing structure.

In a blog post published Oct. 26,Thor Mitchell, Google Map's API product manager, said sites that carry customized or Google's Styled Maps -- specialized maps that can be customized to provide different features beyond the standard view -- will incur fees after 2,500 page loads per day.

Fees range from $4 to $10 for every 1,000 page loads above the announced limits. The fees affect Google's API v2, API v3, Static, Styled and Street View Image Maps.

Websites with traffic below the limits will not incurr fees. Non-profits or Maps deemed by Google to be in the public's best interest are also exempt from these limitations.

Mitchell noted that while no site exceeding these limits will stop working immediately, Google will eventually start charging those websites sometime in early 2012 if they continue to exceed the traffic limits.

We understand that the introduction of these limits may be concerning, Mitchell wrote. However with the continued growth in adoption of the Maps API we need to secure its long-term future by ensuring that even when used by the highest volume for-profit sites, the service remains viable. By introducing these limits we are ensuring that Google can continue to offer the Maps API for free to the vast majority of developers for many years to come.

Websites can opt to pay the fees, lower their Maps usage, or purchase a Maps API Premier License which costs $10,000 per year.

Write to Pierre Bertrand at