Google Maps API Price Hike and Changes

Google has announced that as of June 11, 2018 that the Google Maps Platform will be released and will streamline mapping API services. Google has reduced their free tier increased prices of premium services and new users after June 11 2018 will require a CC to access the free tier of services. This change affects all websites using any Google Maps API services.

https://cloud.google.com/maps-platform/pricing/

This post is meant to help explain these changes and how they affect you.

RealtyPress uses a few Google API services;

Geocoding
Required to retrieve lat and long so listings can be mapped and geocodes single line address searches.

Street View
Street views on single listings are optional can be disabled.

Static Maps
Shows location of listing in the WP admin when editing a listing.
Static maps will be removed in RealtyPress v1.6.3

Javascript Maps API
Required to display searchable maps and single listing google maps

AutoComplete
Provides address suggestions when entering a single line address search.

What is Google Changing?

There are 4 primary changes.

  1. Free tier being reduced to a $200 credit that can be used towards any API service
  2. Premium prices being increased by 1000%-1400% (that’s not a typo unfortunately)
  3. CC may be required to access the free tier
  4. Google now provides support

How does his affect my website?

You should have received an email from google in the past few weeks that provides details regarding the price increase and if you fit within the new free tier of $200 in credits.

If you’re syncing only your listings, or your listings and your brokerage/offices listings you should be ok with the changes and still fit within the free tier. If you’re syncing from the National Shared Pool, you may no longer fit within the free tier since the number of listings is much higher for National Shared Pool feeds.

It’s very hard to estimate by numbers of listings since map views which are influenced by traffic also apply to the $200 credit.

To preserve your credits for essential API services like Geocoding and Javascript Maps API you can disable street view for single listings and autocomplete for single line map search.

To check your current usage you can go to the developers console. https://console.cloud.google.com/apis/dashboard

If you decide to enabel billing and your CC to your google account make absolutely sure that you setup a budget and limit the amount to $200 which keeps you within the $200 credit amount given by Google.

Create a Budget
https://cloud.google.com/billing/docs/how-to/budgets#create_a_budget

Budget Alerts
https://cloud.google.com/billing/docs/how-to/budgets#set_edit_or_remove_alerts

Moving away from Google Mapping services

If you don’t like all these changes and your frustrated that Google would force you to provide a credit card to use a free service and up premium pricing by 10X. We don’t blame you one bit, which is why RealtyPress Premium has been updated to allow other geocoding and mapping services that are still cost-effective and don’t require a credit card to use the free tier of services.

Google will still be an option for existing users and new users that would like to use Google but other options for Geocoding such as Geocodio and Opencage data have been added.

We will add links to our migration guides as they become available here.

CREA DDF Changes

In the wake of all of these changes to Google Maps CREA has announced that they will begin pushing out latitude and longitude values for listings provide by some boards and that this will begin on June 5, 2018.

We’re presuming this quick change to the CREA DDF is in response to Google Map changes and the profound effect it’s going to have on all real estate websites displaying listings and using maps.

You can check the list of supported boards here https://support.crea.ca/DDF#/discussion/57/which-boards-allow-distribution-of-property-geolocation

This will help greatly since it will reduce the need for geocoding services if latitude and longitude are being provided with listing data. Even if only some of the listings provide this data it still reduces the number of calls to Geocoding API to retrieve the coordinates giving you more imports per day.

The Transition

Between Google and CREA both making changes early June we hope the transition is as smooth as possible and does not create issues for RealtyPress users. We will be updating RealtyPress frequently to adjust for any unforeseen issues and appreciate your patience during this transition period.

There will be more articles to follow including “How to migrate away from Google API services”.