Before starting to work as a Product-Sales Consultant with Google Maps, I never knew that Google Maps for Business is a service that enterprises have to pay to use. I guess this is because we all have the free Google Maps native app on our phones, that we use so often for navigation, to check real-time traffic or to find a nice place nearby to eat. We’ve never paid a dime for it!
It was quite an experience, during training, when I learned that if a company (say, Uber) wants to implement Google Maps features on their own app, there are some interesting enterprise plans that they can onboard with. I was also amazed by the entire ecosystem of location-based intelligence and how Google Maps for Business was making it so easy for startups (and established organisations) to simply start using these features, as APIs, and build out entire businesses quite quickly.
Google Maps Platform (previously Google Maps APIs, previously Google Maps for Business), as a product, has been very dynamic, in a sense that there are always new features being added to it and there have been multiple updates and changes in the way it is billed.
As a Google Maps product consultant, these changes have always kept me and my team on our toes and have also in some sense helped us be as dynamic and adaptable as the product itself.
But this has made things a bit interesting when it comes to dealing with new prospects and existing customers. As anyone who has ever worked in product or tech-sales knows, the sales-cycle can be as short as one day or it can last for more than a year, depending on whether the customer knows what they want and how well they understand the product.
This article is an attempt by me to shed light on the latest changes on Google Maps Platform, how it might impact specific business use-cases and the positive impact these changes are going to have going forward.
As of July 16th 2018, everywhere in the world, apart from India, Canada, and Brazil, Google Maps Platform was launched — a move away from the existing yearly prepaid model to a monthly pay-as-you-go, postpaid model. On Google Maps Platform, you pay for what you use, without any minimum commitment.
This is a welcome change for a lot of developers, partners and organisations across the world.
But what about Google Maps Customers based out of India, (or other Mini-Clusters)?
Before July 2018, there were two plans available on Google Maps for Business — Standard Plan which allowed some free usage per day along with some additional usage (capped daily) that was billed monthly. The other plan was the Premium Plan — A yearly, prepaid, credits-based license without a daily cap on usage. Most enterprise customers opted for the Premium Plan that came with Google Support and you could get into an agreement with any Google Maps Partner.
Once Google Maps Platform was launched worldwide, on July 16th 2018, quite a few changes were implemented in India as well. Existing Enterprise license users of Google Maps were not affected, but users on the standard plan received a few updates to the usage policy. For instance, some of them had their usage limits reset, with daily usage caps being restricted to free usage tiers; others got some credits from Google for a few months, to allow them to transition to the enterprise license, while some users had to make code changes to account for keyless usage (this was true for enterprise license customers as well).
Another major change that was implemented was related to standard plan limits for customers who created accounts after September 10, 2018 v/s older accounts.
New accounts post September 10th are given $200 credit per month per API. The $200 credit is divided into 30 days, which means every day $6.67 worth of API calls can be made for free. The number of API calls which can be made (within the $6.67/day limit) depends on the the API being called. More information at this link. But what if someone exhausted this free usage for the day? Simple Answer — The API implementation would stop for that day, and the limit would again reset the next day.
BUILDING THE BRIDGES…
As we move towards Google Maps Platform worldwide, the India-launch is expected towards the end of 2019. During this phase, to assist organisations & developers to start using the enterprise license, since 1st of December 2018, the base price of Google Maps premium plan in India has been substantially reduced (a cut to 1/10th the original price). Now, companies and developers who were hesitant to get started with the enterprise version of Google Maps because of the earlier upfront price point can choose to easily get on-board at a much lower base cost. Also enterprises, especially startups, that need to maintain adequate cash flows, can judiciously allocate budgets to Google Maps-based Location-Intelligence in their apps.
THE FINAL CHANGE…
Finally, for customers in India (and some other countries), Google Maps Platform is expected to be launched towards the end of 2019. The plan is pretty straight-forward- pay for what you use. No upfront prepaid costs. This is a postpaid plan and users of Google Maps APIs will get a bill at the end of the monthly billing cycle based on usage — one could call it a cloud-based approach to location-intelligence via Google Maps.
Again, choice is paramount. Any one can directly bill with Google, by attaching a credit card to their Google Maps Platform account. Get started with all the APIs at your fingertips, in seconds!
But at no extra cost, customers can also choose to bill with a Google Partner. It is always recommended to go with Premier Partners, such as Searce. Benefits include Partner + Google Support, Optimisation Consultation, a team you can count on and finally, there are some volume pricing discounts which can be unlocked if you’re billing with a partner. (Pricing Sheet Link)
With a partner, Maps Platform is not only cheaper but a partner knows APIs and billing better than your developer and help you get the same features with lesser billing. A webinar conducted by one of my colleagues explains the Google maps platform in-depth-
So if you already using Google Maps or are looking to integrate these APIs in your solution contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and one of our ultra-energetic product consultants will reach out to you.
Until next time, keep mapping!