Google has made significant changes to the pricing of their Google Maps API usage.
The company has lowered the prices massively as they feel the heat from the competition.
Several players have already stopped using Google Maps API. Foursquare is one example. Apple recently announced their own mapping platform that could become a popular option for the developers of iOS and OS X developers.
Google spoke about the changes:
Changes to pricing. While the Maps API remains free for the vast majority of sites, some developers were worried about the potential costs. In response, we have lowered the online price from US $4 per 1,000 map loads to 50¢ per 1,000 map loads.
Simplified limits. We’re eliminating the previous distinction between Styled Maps and regular unstyled maps. The same usage limits and pricing now apply to applications using Styled Maps and the default Google Maps style.
We’re beginning to monitor Maps API usage starting today, and, based on current usage, fees will only apply to the top 0.35% of sites regularly exceeding the published limits of 25,000 map loads every day for 90 consecutive days. We aren’t automating the application of these limits, so if your site consistently uses more than the free maps allowance we’ll contact you to discuss your options. Please rest assured that your map will not stop working due to a sudden surge in popularity.