Nieman Foundation at Harvard
HOME
          
LATEST STORY
Serial meets The X-Files in Limetown, a fictional podcast drawing raves after just one episode
ABOUT                    SUBSCRIBE
Oct. 27, 2011, 11:40 a.m.

Have a popular Google Maps mashup? Prepare to pay

The search giant will start charging for its popular API, driver of countless news mapping mashups.

Watch out journalists: Just because something is free today doesn’t mean it will be free tomorrow.

Google announced last night in a blog post that the Google Maps API will no longer be free for everyone to use. A developer that generates more than the prescribed limit — 25,000 map views a day in most cases — will have to pay up. The price varies on how you use the API, but will range from $4 to $10 for every 1,000 map views beyond the limit. (You can also buy a Google Maps API Premier license — those start at $10,000 a year.)

It’s hard to complain too much about a company charging for its services — well, at least it’s hard for news companies to complain when they’re busy putting up paywalls of their own. But data-oriented journalists will be among the people most impacted by this change, since map mashups using Google Maps data have been a big part of the field since chicagocrime.org (which evolved into EveryBlock) debuted back in 2005. Whenever you see a map mashed up with a set of local data on a news site, there’s a very good chance it was built with the Google Maps API.

The news has sent the news developer universe looking for other options:

Megan Hoyer at The Virginian-Pilot: “Trying to figure out how much the Google Maps API issue will cost us. My initial read: Quite a bit. #ouch”

Ben Welsh at The Los Angeles Times: “V2 maps will cost double? Hilarious.”

Jeremy Bowers at The Washington Post: “Guess we’ll be building a map stack. #tilemill”

Brian Boyer at The Chicago Tribune: “Time to switch!”

Bing and Yahoo both offer map APIs, and there are open source options available. But for news organizations that had been relying on Google’s service for map products, it’s time to scramble — either to free up some money in the budget or to search for an alternative. Google says it will “begin enforcing the usage limits in early 2012.”

POSTED     Oct. 27, 2011, 11:40 a.m.
SHARE THIS STORY
   
Show comments  
Show tags
 
Join the 15,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
Serial meets The X-Files in Limetown, a fictional podcast drawing raves after just one episode
“Serial had to stay nonfictional. At the end of the show, it didn’t necessarily mean that it had a conclusion. That’s the biggest advantage we have: We’re making it up. So we can give you an ending.”
The Atlantic is returning to blogging
“We missed the kind of writing it represents. We missed the kind of audience engagement it represents.”
The mourning of AJR is less about a decline in press criticism than the loss of an institution
Like the media it covers, journalism criticism has moved from the work of a few established institutions to something more diffuse.
What to read next
2351
tweets
The New York Times built a Slack bot to help decide which stories to post to social media
The bot, named Blossom, helps predict how stories will do on social and also suggests which stories editors should promote.
1287Jo Ellen Green Kaiser: Do independent news outlets have a blind spot when it comes to ethnic media?
The head of the Media Consortium argues that, by defining themselves in opposition to mainstream media, independent progressive outlets miss out on the power of ethnic and community journalism.
1029Newsonomics: 10 numbers on The New York Times’ 1 million digital-subscriber milestone
Digital subscribers are proving to be the bedrock of the Times’ business model going forward. How much more room is there for growth — and at what price points?
These stories are our most popular on Twitter over the past 30 days.
See all our most recent pieces ➚
Encyclo is our encyclopedia of the future of news, chronicling the key players in journalism’s evolution.
Here are a few of the entries you’ll find in Encyclo.   Get the full Encyclo ➚
Amazon
Kickstarter
Bloomberg
Seattle PostGlobe
Upworthy
Salon
FiveThirtyEight
Honolulu Civil Beat
InvestigateWest
Voice of San Diego
New England Center for Investigative Reporting
Houston Chronicle