Good call Paolo. While the information so far does not seem to prohibit the primary use cases of GeoDirectory, it seems it is wide open for Google’s review and interpretation — and possible suspension or termination — on a site by site, case by case basis. So awareness is key, and so is having a backup plan.
As justmark points out, Google and Facebook are both notorious for suddenly changing directions … typically toward the direction of monetizing something their bases of loyal users have helped them develop, improve and perfect. At least Microsoft and Apple make no secrets about their intentions to charge fees for licensing. And the new Apple Maps .js SDK … I see the article states it will require an Apple Developer account ($99/yr) to obtain an API key.
Based on the reply Stiofan received from Google’s sales dept, and from what I read on the main Google Maps Platform’s Pricing page (https://cloud.google.com/maps-platform/pricing/) I expect that Google may be willing to offer “Enterprise” agreements for sites that offer more than just NAP directories that offer functionality similar to Google MyBusiness / Bing Places.
For sites that are somewhat similar to Google MyBusiness listings … even if a very local focus or vertical industry focus … I’m willing to bet that those domains will be barred from using the Google Maps API at some point. Not sure how soon. And, I wouldn’t be surprised if Google doesn’t press legal action if it is a big enough site.
Just my 2 cents. I may not rely on Google at all until we get clarification how they define: “substantial, independent value and features beyond the Google products or services”.
Ironically enough, I think my site would fall under the “substantial, independent value and features beyond the Google products or services” proviso but the way Google is changing their whole set-up is extremely off-putting to me. Definitely merits a blog posting.
In some ways this could be a good thing because it will force directory owners to not just try and clone Google (or Yelp for that matter). You will probably get less requests on how to scrape Yelp and Google for data.
I will stick with OSM for the time being but following so soon after Facebook’s draconian changes it really reinforces the point to (a) offer something different to your users and (b) try not to rely too much on a private company’s API.
My 2 cents.
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