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Google Maps API Browser Key – Understanding The Recent Changes

Google made an announcement earlier this year that they would be introducing updates to their maps API terms. These changes, which were first implemented in June of 2018, mean that as an existing user, you are now required to set up your own account and associated billing information – in order to obtain a new API key linked to the maps on your website.

Google have managed to do a great job of successfully monopolising the market with their incredibly useful tool, which has become the number one map software that we all know and go to. As an end user this software has always been free to access and use online, which is fantastic! However, you may be wondering how this new update will affect you as a business…

How will this new update affect you?

If you use Google maps on your website, then this update will affect you. The API browser key is used to display Google Maps on your website, so the new update means that websites without a correct key or billing information setup might see an error message displayed saying something like;

Oops! Something went wrong. This page didn’t load Google Maps correctly. See the JavaScript console for technical details

This means that in order to continue using the feature on your website, you will need to create a billing account and add your credit card details if you have not done so already. Essentially, the primary change here is that the free monthly usage has been capped at $200 worth of API calls, as Google have finally decided to monetise and cash in on their Maps with the introduction of new pay as you go price plans in association with their API. If you simply have a small map embedded somewhere in your website, then you should not need to worry about this monthly limit at all, because the cap for these is unlimited.

However, websites using Google Maps more predominantly in terms of their sites functionality, for example those using Maps with Street View, Advanced Embed, or Dynamic Maps will need to give slightly greater consideration to the potential impact of these new limits.

Don’t panic!

It is important to point out here that Google estimate that 98% of users will not exceed the cap of $200, so unless Google Maps forms a major role in the operation of your website this update is still unlikely to be a game changer for you.

As a sensible precaution, you can also preset your own quota to prevent you from exceeding your free monthly usage, and this would give you peace of mind by covering you in the unlikely event that your website experienced a sudden and unusual spike in traffic.

What do you need to do to fix this issue?

To fix this issue we would need you to create a new API key using your own Google account and to add your billing information to it. Please click here for a detailed guide on how to create an API.  Once you have completed this process and obtained the key, please send it over to the team at Teapot Creative and we will add them to your site, free of charge!

About Nick

I now head up the WordPress Team and I am managing projects and staff and still enjoy turning bespoke designs into working websites while listening to heavy rock music and drinking tea.

Give us a call on 01460 281865 or email us to see how we can help you!