Understand Google Maps and Places Confusing Pricing (July 2018)

October 20, 2018

Resources for Google Maps and Places Pricing since 16th July 2018

You get $200 Free credit per month.

NOTE: Pricing mentioned in $ always refer to $ per 1000 loads. Example: $17 means $17 per 1000 requests.

Map Loading

Loading static or dynamic map for mobile (Android or iOS) is still FREE.

Static Maps (JavaScript/Web) is $7 per 1000 loads and Dynamic Maps (JavaScript/Web) is $7 per 1000 loads/requests.

NOTE: Only charged for intial loading, not additional charge for subsequent panning and zooming.

TIPS: Interesting to note there is a Embeded Map which is FREE. I assume rather than paying for Static/Dynamic Maps, you can opt to display Embeded instead.

Place Details

Places Details used Place Id to query detail information of a place. Place Search and Place Autocomplete return Place Id.

Places Details query cost $17 for Basic data, which include address_component, adr_address, alt_id, formatted_address, geometry, icon, id, name, permanently_closed, photo, place_id, plus_code, scope, type, url, utc_offset, vicinity.

Additional $3 for Contact data, which include formatted_phone_number, international_phone_number, opening_hours, website.

Additional $5 for Atmosphere data, which include price_level, rating, review.

Place Autocomplete

Autocomplete is available as HTTP request, JavaScript, Android libraries and probably a few other options.

NOTE: This (libraries) applied to all (or most) apis as well, such as Map Loading, Place Details, Place Search, etc.

Autocomplete return prediction of the text you typed. If I typed Tok, prediction such as Tokyo, Japan, Tokat, Turkey and Tokaj, Hungary shall be returned, with Place Id as well.

Autocomplete is $2.27 per 1000 character request or session.

By default, if you query t, to, tok as you typed, it shall be considered 3 character/request.

If you are smart, you would use Session Tokens to group these relevant queries together into a session, and only to be charged for 1 session/request.

Autocomplete is FREE/waived if you make a subsequent Place Details call using the returned Place Id (pass in the Session Tokens used for Autocomplete to Place Details). You will only be charged for the Place Details call which cost $17 (additional $3 for Contact and $5 for Atmosphere data).

There are 3 types of [Place Search]

NOTE: I believe before the latest pricing change, there are only Nearby Search requests and Text Search requests which by default return all fields (Basic, Contact, Atmostphere). To avoid breaking the API behaviour after pricing change, Find Place requests is introduced which allowed optional Contact and Atmostphere data.

Geocoding

Geocoding convert address into GPS coordinates (latitude and longitude). It also allow Reverse geocoding, which convert GPS coordinates (latitude and longitude) into address. Price is $5 per 1000 request.

The effect of price increase?

The $200 Free credit per month should provide free access for small apps (maybe 100 - 1000 monthly users) or websites (maybe less than 100,000 visitors per month). You can estimate the potential cost with the Pricing Calculator.

If you app or website is very popular, most likely you can no longer offer it for free. Even a lifetime cost of $5 or $10 won’t be sufficient to cover the monthly cost of Google Maps and Places API, as you would need to charge a monthly fee to sustain the API charges.

It is very likely there shall be less free places or location app in the future.

Did Google over charged? I suspect they probably subsidies the cost all these while, and the party had ended. Check out the pricing and quality of other service providers.

Other Maps and Places API providers

Luckily, there are a few players available, each of them offering a certain amount of free quota and some are more expensive/cheaper than Google offering, depending on the APIs.

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