Google has recently announced their adjustment to the Google Maps API platform. Moving forward, Google will require each customer who requires an API key to sign up with a billing account and valid payment method in order to use their services, even if your usage of their services does not ultimately cost you anything.
“Beginning on June 11, 2018, you’ll need to enable billing with a credit card and have a valid API key for all projects. “ (quoted from Google’s Guide for Existing Users)
What is Google Maps API?
The Google Maps API allows your SiteWrench site to embed Google Maps into pages or retrieve data from Google Maps. The customization for these maps varies based on the tools used and data supplied by Google.
How does this affect you?
If your site currently uses the SiteWrench Locator app page part or the Store Directory page part, the map and geocoding functionality of these page parts will cease to function on June 11, 2018, unless you are set up with your own Google billing account and API key.
Moving forward, if any of our SiteWrench tools are integrated with the new Google Maps API, it will be necessary for you to set up a billing account with Google to procure the API key necessary to work with our tools.
What do I need to do?
You can first check your SiteWrench site under Settings in the General tab to see if you have an existing API key.
Here’s a quick link for you to find out if you’re using an API key:
YourSiteURL.com/admin/settings/general.aspx (replace “YourSiteURL.com” with your organization’s domain.)
If you do have an API key but don’t know where it came from or who owns it, you need to create a new one following the steps below.
Please note: If you do not have an API Key listed in your SiteWrench account, this does not necessarily mean you do not need to follow the steps below. If you use the Locator app page part or the Store Directory page part, you will need to obtain a new Google Maps API key, or you will need to transition your current API key so that is a billable account per Google's new standards. It is possible your site is using an "empty API string," which Google is disallowing as of June 11, 2018.
You already have your own API Key
If you know that you have your own API key, follow Google’s Guide for Existing Users with this Transition Tool. The Transition Tool will guide you through the process of adding billing to your existing projects, securing your keys, and onboarding in the new Google Maps Platform Console.
How do I set up a new Google billing account and obtain the API key?
1. Start here: https://cloud.google.com/maps-platform/#get-started
2. Sign up for Maps and Places
3. Create a new project and give it a name so you can easily find what it is. (i.e. website Locations page part)
4. If you don’t have a Billing Account through your Google account already, you will have to enable a billing account. Google will supply you with this pop-up so that you can create a billing account.
5. From here you will confirm the country where your organization resides, and then set up your Payments Profile. Google may display your individual Google account’s profile as the default, but you can click on the downward-facing carrot next to your profile to allow you to create a new payments profile. The new payments profile is a good option if you’d like to make this a business account and add your business billing address and credit card. Finally, Google will have you set up a payment method, whether that is a debit card, credit card, or bank account.
Google states, “You pay for this service only after you accrue costs, via an automatic charge when you reach your billing threshold or 30 days after your last automatic payment, whichever comes first.”
6. Then submit and enable billing.
7. After you submit your billing, you will be taken to enable your Google Maps API to enable the platform. Select “Next,” and they will supply you with a string of letters and numbers similar to this. Copy your API key.
8. Go to your SiteWrench site to the general Settings. Paste your API key into the field and scroll down to click save.
Now your site is ready to go with your new Google Maps API key. Be sure to set this up prior to June 11, 2018, to ensure your website and app tools still function.
How much will I need to budget for this change?
It is unlikely that you will need to pay for this service. Google is comping each client $200 free every month.
“With this new plan, developers will receive the first $200 of monthly usage for free. We estimate that most of you will have monthly usage that will keep you within this free tier. With this new pricing plan you’ll pay only for the services you use each month with no annual, up-front commitments, termination fees or usage limits. And we’re rolling out free customer support for all.” (quoted from Google’s announcement)
Google estimates that 98% of clients using the Google Maps API will not exceed the free $200 credit. The payment method you set up will be billed if you exceed that $200 limit. You can read more about Google’s pricing and billing changes here.