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    A few months ago there was quite a bit of commotion around the GDPR—Europe’s staggeringly complex law intended to protect personal data. Remember those headlines? Panic ensued, followed quickly by relief as U.S.-based companies realized the extent of the work was just adjusting EU-directed forms to explicitly obtain consumer consent. Not really that big of a deal, in the end.

    What does that have to do with Google Maps and its new pay-as-you-go billing ? Well, now that it’s been a month since the official Maps Platform rollout and the dust has settled, people are starting to realize it wasn’t that big of a deal, in the end.

    We can explain, but first here’s the Slack from Scott that got our wheels spinning.

    What you should know about the Google Maps API change

    On June 11th, Google Maps Platform was launched which streamlined 18 individual APIs into three core products: Maps, Routes, and Places. Back in May, when Google announced the changes, some language made it seem as if maps on contact pages around the world would be inaccessible after June 11th. Here’s how the announcement was summarized on Venture Beat:

    “Google today announced a massive revamp of its Google Maps business: The new Google Maps Platform promises streamlined API products, a simplified customer experience, a single pricing plan with pay-as-you-go billing, free support, a single console, and new industry solutions. The catch? Starting on June 11, you’ll need a valid API key and a Google Cloud Platform billing account to access the core Google Maps APIs.”

    To us, the announcement and supporting blogs made it seem as if all of our current and past website client would need to add billing information to the Google Cloud Platform by June 11th or risk a broken map the ‘Contact Us’ page. Google reports that when you enable billing you receive $200 free usage every month. “Based on the millions of users using our APIs today, most of them can continue to use Google Maps Platform for free with this credit.” So, while the majority of maps won’t get enough traffic to be charged—it does seem as if the API holders need to take action to gain access to the $200 monthly credit.

    What we’ve seen this past month

    Well, it’s been over a month since the official rollout—and we’ve only had issues with two websites. Yep, two—and those two make sense since they’re both travel/tourism clients with a ton of seasonal traffic. For the 99 percent of our other clients, however, all embedded maps were unaffected by the change. What this means is the announcement language was misleading.

    If your map is making too many calls back to the database and you’ve spend your $200 credit—you’ll get a watermark on the map and a message to the map’s admin. (We’ve also heard of blue bar across the top of the map and limiting functionality—but we can’t seem to reproduce that yet.) From there, you can go add your billing information, set spending limits, and easily scale as you grow.

    The bottom line though, your map(s) won’t break if you don’t give up your credit card information.

    If you’re exceeding the limit—you’ll be notified and the map may look slightly different, but will still function, as far as we know. If you’re using the API for more dynamic and directional routing, or within an app, we can’t make any promises there.

    How far does your monthly $200 go?

    It’s no surprise that Google has some great examples of what you can do with that monthly credit. For instance, a real estate website that helps users view homes and surrounding neighborhoods by embedding Dynamic Maps can make 28,500 calls a month without being charged. An exercise app that provides jogging routes with directions could reach 40,000 directions calls without going over the limit. Naturally, static maps that don’t make calls will not count against your monthly credit.