Sunday, June 10, 2018

Reducing Google Maps costs

I’m sure I’m not the only person who will be hit hard by the huge increase in the cost of Google Maps. I’ve been using Google Maps for years on my site and it’s been absolutely brilliant. But my monthly costs will increase from a couple of hundred pounds to several thousand pounds, which will wipe out any money generated through advertising. And since I was given very little notice of the increase in price, I’ve had to move quickly to try to keep my site useful but still economical. So here’s some suggestions if you’re in the same boat.

Use embedded maps – these are still free and if you’re showing a simple map with a marker then they might meet your needs. You lose Street View but as a quick temporary fix, this seems the most straightforward option.

Don’t load things immediately – I’ve been in the habit of loading maps and showing information from other Google Maps APIs as soon as the page loads, because it hardly cost anything. I’m now looking very closely at what is key information and what may only be useful to some users. If it’s only going to be useful to some users, I’m adding a button to display that data.

Turn things off – sometimes I’ve added stuff just because it looked like fun without considering whether it would be useful at all. Just removing it is generally easier than the previous option.

Other APIs – At the time of writing, my Google APIs console doesn’t even tell me the usage of some APIs that will soon cost a lot of money to use (Places and autocomplete for example). the only suggestion here is to keep an eye on that console because hopefully usage data will appear some time before we start getting charged

Move to a different map provider – If the prices of other map providers remains the same, then I’m not sure why anyone would choose Google Maps anymore. Their prices are completely out of whack with the rest of the world. But maybe they are just the first company to decide they need to charge more because actually it costs a lot to provide a mapping API. If that is the case, the other map providers will probably breathe a sigh of relief and up their prices to a similar level. And if that is the case, moving to another company could be a time-consuming and ultimately fruitless endeavour. That said, the way Google has handled this price rise has made me lose confidence in them so I’m looking at alternatives. I’ve converted one map to Here Maps fairly easily (I chose them mainly because they support KML) and will convert more as time permits

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