Broken loyalty: Google maps API
Near the tail end of creating Flood Zone NYC, Google had announced that they were going to start charging for use of the Google Maps API. Given that my project was non-profit and community benefiting, it was more likely than not that I wouldn’t be subjected to the fees, though I am at present unsure on how I would go about applying for the Google Map grant, what with me being a single individual, not a group. That said, though it was too late to up and move all of the work I had done for the project using the Google Maps API to some other mapping service, I began to believe that I would never again use the Google Maps API for any commercial work.
The same thought has apparently rang true for other developers. Foursquare moved all of their mapping off of Google Maps and onto OpenStreetMap, and to be honest, if I were to do Flood Zone NYC all over again now, I too probably would have opted for OpenStreetMap, or perhaps Microsoft’s Bing Maps. Developers, it seems, have been so spooked by limits and overage charges that they’ve prompted Google to backtrack and reduce its overage fees per 1,000 views from $4 to just $0.50.
While the price cut may have been massive, it doesn’t make up for the fact that for a site like Foursquare, 25,000 views per day (not even users) is simply far too small of a number for the type of traffic it experiences on a day to day basis. Likewise, Foursquare’s service is reliant on mapping data, the overage costs still cut heavily into advertising revenue. If Google really wants to stop developers from leaving the Google Maps API, then they need to either raise the usage limit to something beyond a million views per day, or they need to price Google Maps Premier to be able to have unlimited access. With Apple potentially eroding Google Map’s presence on mobile apps, they should be weary to marketshare threats on the web.