Google Price Change and Alternative Maps

Google Price Change and Alternative Maps

If you have projects that use the Google Maps API, by now you’re fully aware of the price increase. In June, all projects that were using Google Maps had to enable billing with a credit card and have a valid API key. With the new pricing, developers get a two-hundred-dollar monthly usage for free. That will keep most map smaller map projects in the free tier range, but what happens to the projects that used more than the $200 credit.

Before the price change, with the standard plan, you could do up to 25,000 free requests per day. Once you exceeded the free tier range, that price went up to $0.50 USD per 1,000 requests, up to 100,000 daily, if billing was opted-in. The fear is that once you enable billing to use Goggle Maps API, you will get it with a huge bill.

Before you switch there are a couple fo things you can look at if you are price conscious .

  1. If you have analytics on the site then just go look at the page views for the pages that have maps. You can get a rough idea this way assuming the map is only making one call.
  2. If you have access to the google console go take a look and see how many calls you have been using over the history of the account.

There is good news for the people that don’t won’t to be stuck with with a big bill. One alternative is TomTom (my favorite). TomTom offers 2,500 free daily transactions, global customer support and a pay-as-you-grow type payment packages. Everything is still depending on volume and your usage, so you will be charged for additional transactions at $0.5/1000 a call. You can get a package of 250,000 calls a month for $119 .

A second alternative is Mapbox, since the CEO jumped quickly at the sound of Google raising their prices. Eric Cunderson made a smart move by calling developers to join his team. Any developer that was new to Mapbox could sign up and utilize the pay-as-you-go API’s for free. There was also no need to use a credit card to get started with them. The only thing was to tweet #WeAreBuilders to MapBox along with the link to your map.

The next one I’ll discuss is “HERE”, which is behind Bing Maps. HERE offers you wonderful tools for developers along with amazing features. Even with its free tier having less free calls per day ,($49 for 100,000 monthly transaction), their API gives you better ROI that Google Maps. Also, you can use their 90-day free trial key without having to input any payment information.

There are also a few other to use as alternatives like MapFit, Leaflet, OpenLayers, Location IQ, AND, Sygic Maps and Jawgmaps. All with different variations on how much their free tiers supports, their monthly plans or their pay-as-you-go options.

During a recent project we had a customer that got hit with a $700+ bill for one month when the price change came along. We were able to look at how it was coded, make a few improvements, and switch them to TomTom and get the month down to $119 without any real loss of features.