BBC News reports that Google Maps will soon be a paid service — to websites deemed heavy users of the supposed free service. “Heavy” is certainly a subjective word but the report says starting Jan 1, 2012, Google will start charging websites for using Google Maps API when they reach above the 25,000 map hits in a day.
Google is rumored to be charging $4 per 1,000 views in excess of the limit.
Google Maps has been an indispensable tool whether to drive foot traffic to shops or direct otherwise lost travelers to the right path. In fact, my previous travels to Japan, Korea and Spain have been made much more easier with Google Map’s street view feature. It’s not just a map service that helps us identify shortest routes or travel times and view alternate views such as aerial view on Earth and even on the Moon and Mars. Google Maps service doesn’t end there. It even provides inside views of shops, gyms or restaurants!
But as this is a business, eventually such premium service comes at a price, reportedly affecting only a fraction of a per cent considered as heavy users.
Just recently Google Analytics is adding a paid version of this popular web analytics tool. So don’t be surprised if another free service will become a paid service.