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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.

 

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Map attributes have been extended in 4.9.7

map attributes - a global map with markers

Store Locator Plus 4.9.7 “map attributes” update was released today for our WordPress users. The update is still in testing for MySLP users — some of the patches in this release are a direct result of the testing before integrating into our managed service. The updated release will be on the MySLP platform soon but will have limited impact on those users.

More shortcode map attributes for WordPress users

The [slplus] processor in the core plugin has been updated to allow more map attributes to be set.  This update allows ALL options that have been migrated to the new Smart Options architecture (80% of all SLP settings at this point) to be used as an attribute. This greatly improves the ability to create custom maps on a per-page basis with settings that vary from the general “system wide” settings that come from the Store Locator Plus > Settings tab.

You can find the current list of supported attributes here:
https://docs.storelocatorplus.com/blog/slplus-shortcode-options/

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Location position and accuracy

Have you ever checked the accuracy of your location marker compared to where it appears on the widely used google maps application?  If you do,  you may notice that the latitude and longitude and position of your marker is not exactly the same as where it appears in the Google Map.

The exact location marker on your map may be slightly off by a few feet or meters from the actual location shown in the Google Maps App. Both are using Geocoding  (the process of converting addresses into geographic coordinates (latitude and longitude), which you can use to place markers on a map, or position the map, so why the difference?