I am directionally challenged.   Directions – Angela style – need to include “Turn right at QT, pass Taco Bell and turn left into the Target parking lot.”   Well, let’s be realistic, I know exactly how to get to Target.   But the concept is true; navigation is just not in my blood.

Case in point… I was recently driving home from a wedding with two sleeping kids in the backseat and a snoring husband next to me (who was on midnight shift).   He gave me a quick rundown of the best route home as he was dozing off.   Long story short… I ended up taking a huge loop around the city instead of going straight through it.   Let’s be real, if anyone asks, I took the scenic drive so that they could all get an extra 20 minutes of sleep (wink wink).   Unfortunately, my husband woke up at one point and knew instantly that I was on the wrong highway.   We made it home just fine, but I don’t get asked to drive much anymore.   I’ll consider that an added bonus.

Navigation is just not in my blood; but technology is.   Luckily, millions of websites have an embedded map and directions to help me get where I need to go.   And many of those online maps are fueled by Google (no surprise there).   Google Maps is a powerful tool that can be integrated into your site to bring readers directly to your front door, show them a street view of your building, or even show them the closest coffee shop on their way to an appointment.   But, like so many things in the online world, changes happen.

The Google Maps platform allows website owners to integrate Google Maps into their own websites or applications.   Google does all things navigation, they do it well, and they know it.   Up until recently, it cost next to nothing to use a Google map on your website.   You could get roughly 25,000 map views a day on your website for free.  But things are changing.

In a recent shift, Google Maps is now a fee-based service.   “Free” map views are numbered and you’ll need to give Google your credit card info to keep using their services.   Keep in mind, this does not affect the Google Maps website (https://www.google.com/maps) or Google Maps app, this just affects the maps that you display on your own website.   So what does that mean for your site and your integrated maps?   Unfortunately, it means that you have to adapt to their new pricing structure, find a new tool, or risk broken maps.

Google has shifted to a pay-as-you-go pricing scale.   That means that each time a Maps feature is loaded on your site, your account gets dinged.   Whether it is a simple map loading on a page, or a customer switching to the street view of your building, you’ll be charged.   Different features have different prices which can make it hard to estimate.   However, Google is giving everyone a $200/month credit to use their services.   That means, depending on your site and your audience, you may not even surpass the free credit each month.   So, while you’ll still need a credit card on file, you may not ever get charged.   Unfortunately, that doesn’t change the fact that you need to comply with their new structure and rules.

To put the change into more tangible numbers… Under the old structure your site could load a simple map somewhere around 25,000 time a day and a credit card was not required.   Now, the $200 credit will get you roughly 28,000 map views per month.   And that doesn’t take other features into account like directions, GPS locations, or street views.   We all know that nothing in life is free, but it’s better to evaluate your services or comply with the new guidelines now, before your maps stop working.   If you have a Google Map on your website, it’s time to update your account or risk broken maps.

I may be directionally challenged but I know one thing for sure; a lot of website owners rely on Google Maps.   And in the world of technology, nothing will stay the same for very long (remember the Garmin?   I’m sure Siri can tell you all about it).   As we discussed in a recent article, “Keeping Up With Google,” adaptability is key.   If you use Google Maps on your website, make sure you have a billing account set up in case you surpass the “free” monthly credit.

Not sure how to do it or where to start?   That’s what we’re here for.   At Kolbeco, we are your web partner.   Which means that we are watching out for these changes so that you don’t have to.   So please, reach out if you need a hand.   And if you are one of our current web clients, watch out, you’ll be hearing from us.

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web developer / interactive marketer / bringer of infectious joy