Google Maps Platform Announcement email

djbaxter

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This was originally posted by MeganR but contained some formatting characters that would not display with the vBulletin forum software we use.

MeganR said:
I just received an email regarding the launch of Google Maps platform.

How will this impact clients site, GMB, etc?

I read through the announcement and the potential impact for my clients is still not completely clear to me.

I'd certainly welcome other forum members' analysis.

Thanks.
I also received this email and have similar questions:

Subject: [Action Required] Changes to your Google Maps APIs account

Today we are announcing important changes, including our new name - Google Maps Platform, a simplified product structure, pay as you go pricing for all, and more. Please take a few minutes to review the announcement to familiarize yourself with the upcoming changes.

We would like to highlight a few updates that may impact your implementation. Beginning June 11th, we are launching our new pricing plan and providing all users access to support. We’ll continue to offer a free tier — all developers will receive $200 of free monthly usage of our core products.

In addition, this change will require you to enable billing and associate it with all of your Google Maps Platform projects. Creating a billing account helps us better understand your usage so we can continue developing helpful products. It also allows you to scale easily with less downtime and fewer performance issues if your product grows beyond the $200 of free monthly usage. For additional visibility and control you can set daily quotas or billing alerts.

How does this affect your current projects?
This was followed by details of my personal usage. At this time, my primary usage is embedded Google Maps on customer contact pages, and like MeganR I'm wondering exactly what implications this has for those pages. Am I going to need to

  • make changes to those pages and eliminate embedded Google maps entirely? (Many are small business clients who I don't think are going to want to pay for that detail.)
  • switch to Bing Maps?

Your thoughts?
 

Linda Buquet

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Thanks Megan for posting about this and to David for reposting.

Not sure, but pretty sure this announcement is only for developers that use the API.
So if you create an application or some type of bulk mapping/data tool, this would apply.

But I don't think it implies any changes for regular maps users, like embedded maps.

Anyone else have thoughts? Or know anything more?
 

djbaxter

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On checking the links in the email regarding my personal usage, it appears that it does apply to customer websites using embedded maps - basically, anything that requires an API.

Now some of those small business sites are not likely to exceed the limits for the "$200 of free monthly usage" mentioned above, but Google will still require setting up a billing account for any site that exceeds that limit. What concerns me is that Google will then automatically bill customers who exceed that limit.

I can't see many small business clients agreeing to that. I can't see myself agreeing to that, for that matter. An open agreement to be automatically billed by Google at some point in the future? I don't think so. I wouldn't agree to that with any company.

The requirement to set up a billing account in itself creates some privacy concerns.

I see this as an unnecessary legal nightmare that Google has just created for itself and honestly I do not understand the rationale for doing this. Surely Google has enough money without doing this. And surely Google already has enough litigation involving privacy issues and anti-trust/anti-monopoly issues. Why set themselves up for more?
 

Linda Buquet

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It looks like everyone in the blog comments thinks of it like you do David.
I still think after re-reading and clicking some links, its just for developers that use the API, not regular maps users. Here's a couple snippets with bolding by me:

With this new plan, developers will receive the first $200 of monthly usage for free.

If you like Google Maps, but think you could do something better, now's your chance. Check out the Google Maps API, which lets web developers put Google Maps on their own sites, just like housingmaps.com and chicagocrime.org.

We’re excited about all the new location-based experiences you’ll build...

Based on the millions of users using our APIs today, most of them can continue to use Google Maps Platform for free with this credit. Having a billing account helps us understand our developers’ needs better and allows you to scale seamlessly.Our core APIs work together to provide the building blocks you need to create location-based apps and experiences...

Ridesharing companies can embed the Google Maps navigation experience directly into their apps to optimize the driver and customer experience.
Google Maps is available to various other businesses for use in their products, and more tailored solutions for things like ridesharing and asset tracking are also offered.

Via TechCrunch

Google is launching a major update to its Google Maps API platform for developers today — and it’s also giving it a new name: the Google Maps Platform.

This is one of the biggest changes to the platform in recent years and it’ll greatly simplify the Google Maps developer offerings and how Google charges for access to those APIs, though starting June 11, all Google Maps developers will have to have valid API key and a Google Cloud Platform billing account, too.



------------------------------------------

So here's a very small biz example of what I believe is going on.

Allergy specialist: Embedded map on his site to help customers find his office - no change, no charge, does not apply.Same allergy specialistdecides to build an APP that shows the allergy menus of local restaurants and rates how allergy friendly each is. (Not just a little app for his patients, but to be used by the public,) He would need the API key for this and everything in the announcement applies.

Does that make sense?
What does everyone else think?
 

djbaxter

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Your take seems logical and it would be a more rational approach for Google to take. Unfortunately, that is not the reality at the moment.

The emails Google sent out and the links from their blog post take me to a site that allows one to check whether sites associated with your Google Search Console or GMB account are affected.

In my case, that specifies several current small business sites built on the Wordpress platform and using Google Maps embedded on the Contact page. For each of those sites (no apps for any of them - just Wordpress, some plugins, and some embed code), Google very clearly says they must set up a billing account even though the same page acknowledges that to date all of them fall in the free range.

Looking into my way-back mirror, I see this triggering angry mobs with flaming torches and pitchforks chanting, “Send out the monster!” and “Google must die!”

Major public relations blunder at a minimum in my opinion.
 

Greg Schueler

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If you are using a WordPress plugin that pulls the Map from the API, you will need to use new system.

If you simply go to the Maps and click the share/embed link and copy/paste that iframe into your website, you are not utilizing the API and are clear from the new procedure.

None of the sites where I simply pasted in the iframe were on my "warning" list provided by Google, just the ones where I was using a fancier plugin to create the maps.
 

djbaxter

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Thanks, Greg. Good to know. Still a bit of a pain to convert those pages but an acceptable workaround.
 

Linda Buquet

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I shared this post with the GMB team and asked them to pass it on to the Google Maps Platform team so they can be aware of the confusion this is creating.

Will let you know if I hear anything back.
 

Linda Buquet

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Margaret a Top Contributor there and here said: (I don't think she'd mind me quoting since it just confirms what David was explaining)

Thanks for posting this Linda - Have been reading through the various announcements and have not been able to make sense of it yet myself.

According to the chrome extension you're recommended to use, every site I've tested that has a map embedded on their contact page (through the standard public "share" iframe code) fails the test and would need to sign up to the program.


So now no-one can use Google Maps without forking over a credit card?


This is really unclear.
 

djbaxter

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That's not good.

Time to switch to Bing Maps?

Bad decision, Google.
 

Scott Rawlins

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Wanted to bump this thread since the deadline is on 7/16/18. Do we have any real answers? Sounds to me there is still a lot of confusion using a plug-in vs a simple embed code.
 

Greg Schueler

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Wanted to bump this thread since the deadline is on 7/16/18. Do we have any real answers? Sounds to me there is still a lot of confusion using a plug-in vs a simple embed code.
I still believe in my original thoughts... If you use Google Maps Platform (with API calls), you need to add billing info into your account. You will get the first $200 of use for free, which is way more than the average site will use.

If you just embed a Google Map (not via the Platform with API) you are not using API calls and it is use as normal, just grab the embed code and paste it in.

Can I put Google Maps on my site without using Google Maps Platform products? (https://developers.google.com/maps/faq#mapswithoutapi)

Yes. Google Maps now offers the ability to embed the map that you're viewing into your website or blog, without any programming or use of the Google Maps Platform. More information is available here.
If you are not currently registered and using an API key to generate your Maps, then you won't even get a notice from Google. They would have no easy way to determine who copied the iframe from the basic embed function, just the sites that it is embedded on (could be unlimited sites)
 

djbaxter

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If you are using a WordPress plugin that pulls the Map from the API, you will need to use new system.

If you simply go to the Maps and click the share/embed link and copy/paste that iframe into your website, you are not utilizing the API and are clear from the new procedure.
If you use Google Maps Platform (with API calls), you need to add billing info into your account. You will get the first $200 of use for free, which is way more than the average site will use.

If you just embed a Google Map (not via the Platform with API) you are not using API calls and it is use as normal, just grab the embed code and paste it in.
Greg is correct. I can verify that now.

Just go to any location on Google Maps. For example, the White House: Google Maps

share-white-house-map.png

1. Click on share.

embed-a-map.png

2. Click on "Embed a map".

get-embed-html.jpg

3. Grab the html iframe code (spaces added so it's visible):

Code:
< iframe src="https://www.google.com/maps/embed?pb=!1m18!1m12!1m3!1d3105.1503819264844!2d-77.03871848464966!3d38.897676279570575!2m3!1f0!2f0!3f0!3m2!1i1024!2i768!4f13.1!3m3!1m2!1s0x89b7b7bcdecbb1df%3A0x715969d86d0b76bf!2sThe+White+House!5e0!3m2!1sen!2sca!4v1530919654550" width="600" height="450" frameborder="0" style="border:0" allowfullscreen></iframe >
4. And place this anywhere you want the map on your contact page. For free.
 

theitsage

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This announcement is what happened when the bean counters made the engineers close technical loopholes then had the lawyers write copy. As more game and software developers create AR experience, they heavily tap into the rich yet free resource that is Google Maps API. Google doesn't like very much paying for the infrastructure while making nothing. The logical solution is to create a multi-tier platform.

The majority of current users will not have to pay due to little bandwidth usage. The credit card on-file requirement is a necessary evil to prevent abuses from cunning developers. As Greg had mentioned, using the embed feature within Google Maps is perfectly fine to display a business location and directions on their websites.
 

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