Google does not openly advertise the fact that they have different location data for different users. However there is good anecdotal evidence an hearsay that Google Maps API returning inaccurate results may be by design.
The evidence is most prevalent in the geocoding of locations. The latitude and longitude Google assigns to different addresses is not “set in stone”. It is an interesting anomaly given the fact that places on earth should not move with regard to their latitude & longitude outside of plate tectonics.
The team at Store Locator Plus® has long held a theory that Google intentionally subverts accurate location data; quite likely to gain competitive advantage for their own products and services.
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.
Today is July 16th, 2018 — free Google Maps access is a thing of the past.
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
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.
How do you know if you need to obtain a Google Maps API key?
As of June 11, 2018(update: Google has extended this date to July 6) all sites using Google map to geolocate will need a key and a billing account. If you do not have one your map will no longer work. If you are using any of the WordPress Locator plugins, that most likely means you. If your site worked before without one, those days are history.
This store locator service is a subscription and is managed by the Store Locator Plus team. What does that mean? Besides being able to use it on virtually any platform, it also means you do not need to worry about SLP updates nor will you have the hassle of logging into the Google developers console to obtain a key with a Google billing account. You subscribe to our service and pay a monthly fee (subscription) depending on the plan you need. You will not see a “surprise” charge on your credit card in the event you go over the limit.
Switching between WP Store locator to MySLP just became easier!!
Contact us to learn how to sign up for the New “Lock and Load” your Locations from WPSLP as part of your transition process to MySLP. Available with the SLP 4.9.16 release. MySLP plans start for a low monthly fee.