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Scheduled Imports Included in Locator Updates

The July release of Store Locator Plus™ has been completed and includes a number of updates such as the scheduled imports patch for our Professional and Enterprise level users.   We’ve included a number of changes in the location processing engine as well that helps improve browser memory consumption as well as performance for sites with larger lists of locations.    These updates are already online for our MySLP users.

You’ll find similar patches and updates in our WordPress plugin version 4.9.17.

Scheduled imports patch

This patch addresses and issue where the import scheduling form was not being processed, preventing changes to the import file location, interval, or time at which the import runs.    New sites could not schedule imports and had to import location CSV files “by hand”.  The patch addresses the issue.

Schedule imports are provided at theProfessional and Enterprise levels and are part of the WordPress Power add on.

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Google Maps API Prices Increase 9,000%

How much did the Google Maps API prices increase?  The  true cost is hidden for many users of the ubiquitous Google Maps API as Google is weaning you onto a potential 9,000% price increase by giving everyone a $200 per-month credit towards API billing through September 2018.   For many API users the true sticker shock will come when that $200 credit expires.

Google Maps API Prices Increase by 9,500% for our account in September.

Our fully managed locator service has already seen the impact.   When the $200 credit expires our expenses will increase 9,570%

Up until July 2018 most users were able to get by with no official Google API key at all.   Those that started a site in the past year needed an API key but likely fell under the “free usage limits” and never saw a bill; even if they enabled the older “Pay-As-You-Go” system under Google.

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Google Maps Pricing Changes

Google Maps pricing changes have finally gone into effect after multiple instances of Google playing “kick the can down the road”.  The initial changes where supposed to go into effect on June 11th, 2018. Google gave everyone a break from scrambling to implement API keys after announcing that change less than a month before they intended to shut down free access to their maps — they extended the “drop dead” date to July 16th, 2018.

Google Maps pricing change announcement
Google Maps pricing change announcement

Today is July 16th, 2018 — free Google Maps access is a thing of the past.

What that means for Store Locator Plus™

If you are using the WordPress plugins you must now have a Google Maps API key and an attached billing account for that key or your maps will stop appearing on your site.   Users of the My Store Locator Plus™ fully managed locator service do not have to worry about this — we take care of all the licensing for you.

Luckily Google has provided everyone a credit for 2 months of free API access for your maps.   You will need to get an API key and create a Google billing account so they can charge you for their pay-as-you-go service.  Unlike in the past, both small sites and larger sites will start to incur fees under the new Google Maps pricing structure.

New Google Maps Pricing

Every plugin or service that implements Google Maps , which is most of the maps and locators you will find — especially on WordPress, will use the Google Maps JavaScript API.   This is what Google terms “Dynamic Maps” in their new pricing table.     Again, services that include the maps access as part of their monthly subscriptions , like My Store Locator Plus™, take care of these fees for you.

For users of the WordPress plugins you will need to look at the Google Pricing Matrix under “Dynamic Maps”.

  • The base fee is $0.007 for each call to the Google Maps API for the first 100,000 API calls.
  • The fee after 100,000 API calls is $0.0056 per call.

For a typical site where the map is displayed and lists a dozen-or-so locations the fee will roughly correlate to how many visitors the map page receives.    If you have 100 page views of your “locator page” every month you will have approximately 200 API calls for the geocoding request of the user’s location plus the map tiles loading.     100 page views will cost $1.40.

Geocoding location also incurs a fee under the new Google Maps pricing scheme.   If you import 1,000 locations with the Power add on import feature you will record 1,000 geocoding requests in addition to ongoing map views.    1,000 locations will incur a $7.00 charge from Google when they locations are imported.  Again, MySLP covers these fees for you.