My phone has already started ringing with this question and a few emails have already come in. Yesterday, Google announced a change to how they will be handling the API accounts that provide maps on tons of sites across the internet. They have indicated that they are switching to accounts that must have a credit card on file in case the site exceeds the allotment of the free calls to the API and they need to bill you and they are consolidating 11 different API platforms into 3..
The chances are pretty good that the vast majority of people reading this post never received this email. Why, because the API account on your website is probably tied to the developer that built the site and not to your own Google Account. But that doesn’t mean your site isn’t going to be affected. If your website has a map and the API key isn’t reset, the map is going away on June 11th and will be replaced with some sort of error message.
There are two basic solutions – work with a developer that has an active API Billing Account or set on up for yourself (or have someone set it up for you and add it to the website).
Google has stated that they will be keeping a free service tier. The first $200 of API services are free. Quite frankly most smaller sites will fall inside of the free service tier. They simply don’t generate enough traffic with enough calls to exceed the limit. However, this put developers such as myself in a bind. If I have enough sites, its possible for the combined activity to exceed this allotment and change my cost structures. So is it worth it to keep an account set up and incur costs for a bunch of things that could easily be handled on free accounts. Ease of management vs. extra time in development (granted, not a whole lot) and some additional cost.
My website clients will be hearing from me in very near future with a couple of options on how to move forward. If you have a map on your website and don’t have a relationship with a developer or don’t feel comfortable setting up the API account or configuring your website to use the new API key, please reach out to me and I’ll help you understand your options. That conversation is free.