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Your store locator and Google Maps license explained

License Explained

Storemapper works with Google Maps on your site to generate your store locator app. A question we get often is “does Google Maps officially approve of this?” The short answer is Yes, but it’s worth explaining in some detail how Storemapper, your store locator, the website where you install your store locator interact with the Google Maps license. It’s a little complicated but hang in there.

First, Storemapper does have an OEM license from Google Maps for our business. They know what we do and generally approve of it and we pay them money for it. Generally what we license from them, and what you get by being our customer, is (1) The ability to use Google’s Geocoding API, through our app, to automatically convert your addresses accurately into the correct map marker location (2) the ability to use various Google Maps tools inside our app at storemapper.co and (3) the ability to pay us money (yay!)… any commercial implementation of Google Maps requires an OEM license.

Second, when you install the Storemapper embed code on your site, the thing that actually renders the maps is called the Google Maps Javascript API. When you add that to your website, along with our code, you are not licensing the Google Maps Javascript API from Storemapper (us). Because that map is on your website, publicly available, and your customer uses it freely, it falls under a different (more generous) licensing structure that is ultimately between the website owner and Google.

How Storemapper uses Google Maps API

Google Maps API contains tons of libraries that provide various functionality. Your Storemapper is using the following ones:

  1. Maps JavaScript API – renders your map. Each time user lands on your Storemapper page causes one call to this API.
  2. Geocoding API – converts addresses into geographic coordinates (geocoding). In Storemapper geocoding happens each time when your map is loading and each time when a search is run.
  3. Places API – can be used to automatically fill in the name and/or address of a place as you type. Each key press in the search field causes a call to Places API for getting predictions.
  4. Geolocation API – finds an end-user location using GPS. Fires up if you have ‘Geolocation: Ask for user location’  enabled in your settings and when landing on your page end-users prompt using their location.

The main thing to know is that there are actually some usage limits, on how much traffic your store locator page can get that may trigger a need to enable billing with Google.

How Google billing works

On June 11th, 2018,  Google is planning to roll out significant changes to their Maps platform in the scope of usage limits and pricing.  After this change, Google are offering a fixed amount of free usage each month of $200 and each API call counts towards this limit. With this credit you get:

  • Dynamic Map loads (Maps JavaScript API) – Up to 28,000 loads
  • Places Autocomplete (Places API) – Up to 70,000 chars
  • Geocoding (Geocoding API) – Up to 40,000 calls
  • Geolocation (Geolocation API) – Up to 40,000 calls

Prices are the following:

  • Dynamic Map loads (Maps JavaScript API) – $7 / 1000 loads
  • Places Autocomplete (Places API) – $17 / 1000 calls
  • Geocoding (Geocoding API) – $5 / 1000 calls
  • Geolocation (Geolocation API) – $5 / 1000 calls

For more up to date information about Google pricing, please check this link

Now, let’s grab some coffee and do the math to learn how to estimate your Google Maps API usage.

You estimate 10 000 visits a month to the store locator page. For each visit, you estimate that:

  • A customer does 1 search attempt ;
  • A customer types an average of 8 characters in the search field to find their starting point. We’re running an autocomplete optimization on our side, which reduces this number in two times.

Calculations:

  • Maps JavaScript API – 1 map load × 10 000 visitors = 10 000 map loads per month x $7 / 1000 = $70
  • Geocoding API – 1 searches x 10 000 visitors = 10 000  geocodes per month x $5 / 1000 = $50
  • Places API – 1 searches × 8 characters per search / 2 (autocomplete optimization) × 10 000 searches = 80 000 calls per month x $17 / 1000 = $1360

Total cost: $70 + $50 + $1360 – $200 (free credit) = $1280 / mo

As  you can see, autocompletion feature powered by  Places API is the most expensive part. We suggest to disable it, unless you need it desperately. Reach us at help@storemapper.co and we’ll  do that for you.

W/o autocompletion 99% of our customers should fit into free credit, so for almost every customer, there are no additional licensing fees and nothing extra you need to worry about when using your store locator.

As you might expect, all of this information is presented to the best of our ability at the time of writing, is not legally binding and should be used for informational purposes only. Please contact us if you have any questions at all.

 

Updated on July 2, 2018

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