Google has recently announced a restructuring of Google Maps, with 18 APIs (Application Programming Interface) streamlined into three core products — Maps, Routes and Places. So, what does this mean for businesses who rely on these Google products, especially Maps?

From June 11, 2018, all businesses which have a Google Maps link on their websites will need an API key and to enable credit card billing on their Google account. This follows on from Google’s 2016 announcement that it will stop supporting keyless usage with its APIs. What this means, is that any sites without an API key will no longer be supported, and any Maps requests will now show only low-resolution maps watermarked with “for development purposes only.”

Fortunately, these changes will not affect your website’s code or structure. However, you will need to update the API key on your site once you’ve enabled credit card billing and received your new registered API key (see guide below).

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How to Get an API Key

Getting an API key is easy. Start by registering your project in the Google Cloud Platform Console and then generate an API key by following the steps below. If you don’t have a Google account (we recommend also setting up a Gmail account) you’ll need to set one up first.

  1. Go to Google Cloud Platform Console
  2. Select an existing project or create a new one
  3. Enable the API by clicking ‘Continue’
  4. On the ‘Credentials’ page, get an API key
  5. In the ‘Key Restriction’ section, add required restrictions (optional)

Once you have received your API key, add it to your website by substituting YOUR_API_KEY in the code below:

The new pricing structure is pay-as-you-go billed monthly, with no annual or upfront fees, and all customers will receive their first $200 of monthly usage free. According to Google, most customers’ monthly usage will keep them in this tier, so it’s unlikely that the majority of businesses with only a Maps link on their website will actually pay anything for the new Maps Platform.

Google Maps Billing Structure

If you have already enabled credit card billing, you will continue to be billed under the current API pricing model until 16 July, 2018. Starting from this date when the new pricing structure comes into effect, you will see the charges on your bill. We recommend reading this Google article which explains the new pricing structure and familiarising yourself with it before 16 July.

To view your billing report once you have enabled credit card billing, go to Google Cloud Platform Console, click on the Maps section, open the left side menu on the console, click ‘Billing’, then select ‘Reports’. You should now see your latest billing report.

Please access the guides linked to throughout this article to learn more about the changes to Google Maps billing and setting up an API key. If you have any further questions, please contact your account manager.

Bambrick Media is a Brisbane SEO company based in leafy Spring Hill. If you’re looking to increase your search results visibility and have access to a dedicated SEO team who can help you keep up-to-date with the latest Google updates, why not get in touch today? 

Image Credit — Simon Migaj