For all new applications created on or after June 22, a Google Maps API Key will be required. Existing applications will continue to work without a key, but the new limits will be applied to everyone.
Before this announcement, Google Maps API would return up to 25,000 keyless requests per day and would require an API key and payments only after exceeding the 25,000 limit for 90 consecutive days.
Now the API key is requested for all new applications, but the limit is 25,000 free map loads per day without grace days.
Webites and apps admin can purchase extra daily map loads at $0.50 USD for 1,000 additional map loads, up to 100,000 daily extra map loads. Billing must be enabled to be able to purchase extra API requests.
If your website or applications has more than 125,000 daily map loads, you will be required to upgrade to a Premium Plan license.
For those not willing to deal with API limits and for countries were Google Maps is restricted, we extended GeoDirectory few weeks ago to optionally use the OpenStreetMap API.
While we were at it, we also created a wee plugin that can solve the Google Maps API key for any theme or plugin that has not been updated to include an API key: Google Maps API KEY plugin.
Just install the plugin and activate it, go to Settings >> Google API key and add your API key. If the Google Maps script has been enqueued correctly, our plugin will add your API key and fix any loading issue.
Google Maps has been completely free of charge for most of us for over 10 years, it will remain free for websites with average traffic, but it will start charging higher traffic websites.
Let us know what you think about this move from Google in the comments down below. Will it push users (you) towards the competition or nothing will really change?