In early May Google introduced what it’s calling the Google Maps Platform, which includes changes to the Maps API. The overall idea of the Platform is simplifying the existing number of APIs available into three main Platform products versus the previous eighteen separate APIs. The important takeaway from this shift for Cardinal Store Locator customers relates to the announced pricing. Beginning July 16th new billing changes will go into effect and there are a few required actions detailed below that you will need to take to keep your locator functioning. The Cardinal Store Locator plugin was built on the Google Maps API, so all license holders are affected by this update.
Important steps required
Please take a moment to go through the following steps to ensure your locator continues functioning after July 16th. Note that a valid credit card will now be required by Google to use the Google Maps API but you are able to set limits on API usage to avoid any unexpected charges.
- Visit the Guide for Existing Users
- Click on the Transition Tool button
- If you’re not logged in already go ahead and log in with the account you used to create the Google Maps API key for your project
- Go through the steps in the Guide to add billing information for you project/s.
- Secure your API key so that it only functions on intended domains
- Review Pricing tier table
Still free for most
Though this move could be somewhat concerning, unless your site or client’s site receives heavy amounts of traffic most license holders should be covered by the free pricing tier. Around the same time that Google made its announcement it also sent out emails to existing Maps API key holders with the subject line “[Action Required] Changes to your Google Maps APIs account” that provided an overview of all of your registered Google Maps API projects with an estimate of what pricing tier the project/s fall into. Please search your inbox for that email if you’re concerned at all about what pricing tier your project will land in.
While changes like this can be unwelcome the approach for simplifying the Google API platform does seem like a good step forward. The billing changes could potentially be a pain point though the majority of license holders with average amounts of website traffic should still be able to use Google Maps without incurring any additional charges. At this point there is no plan to update Cardinal Store Locator from using the Google to another API as the plugin is heavily intertwined with Google Maps API and switching would take a significant amount of work. However, if Google were to place further limitations on the API in the future or remove the free tier an alternative route would be planned. In other words, no changes for now but options will be kept open.