Since July, 2018 many websites have encountered an unusual problem: the embedded Google Map got obscured by the watermark “For development purposes only” with the message box “This page didn’t load Google Maps correctly” above.
As it turned out, this problem was caused by a change in Google Maps’ monetization policy. Along with some changes on the technical side, Google made significant changes in the pricing policy of its services.
The new pricing table can be found here.
After reviewing the rates table one can come to the following conclusion: for those websites that simply display a Google map with marker (e.g.: “We are located here…” on the Contacts page) nothing significant has changed in terms of cost. Placing this kind of maps on website’s page is still free, you just need to tweak something in map’s integration code (detailed instructions are provided below in this article).
On the other hand, we observe a completely different situation with restrictions and prices for Google Maps services for commercial purposes. In this case, the number of free map loads has decreased, while the rates have increased significantly. To clearly understand the pricing changes, you can read an article with a detailed example of a drug search service.
It is also worth mentioning that changes in Google Maps services turned out to be quite unexpected for the audience, and information about the new conditions and prices was not clear and comprehensive. Users cannot figure out what they must pay for, how much, and what can they use for free (according to multiple messages on the official Google Maps forum).
Concerning the issue of showing a map on your website, we can say the following: a simple display of maps with a marker (basic maps embed) remains to be free of charge, while displaying an advanced map (advanced map embed) – for example, with the Directions, Street view and Search mode – is now a paid service.
Currently Google provides a monthly free $200 credit, and therefore using paid services within certain limits may in fact be free for now. But you should be careful not to go into significant financial minus.
Another question that is being raised on the Google Maps forum frequently is why the Google Map is not working on the website? The solution to this problem is given below.
In order to display Google maps on pages your website you must comply with 3 conditions:
If you still do not have a Google Maps Platform account, you can create one here. Please note that along with general information about the company, you will also have to enter the card details to set up a billing account.
Setting up a billing account is necessary even if you plan to use free Google maps services only. Otherwise, the daily quota for map loads will be equal to one: just one user per day will see the map on your website.
After that, you should choose “APIs&Services” in the given list and create an “API key” on the “Credentials” tab.
The generated API key must be used in the map integration code in the following way:
In the example above the code should look like this:
After you enter the key in the integration code on the site, the map will appear back on your page with no watermarks and message box. Moreover, in the Google API panel you can set restrictions on its use (e.g., displaying only on your domain), as well as view statistics on traffic and errors.
At the moment you can still find many websites in internet whose owners either have not noticed the problem of map’s displaying, or do not know how to solve it. We hope this article will help to understand new features of Google Maps services, as well as protect you from receiving unexpected bills for them.