Google Maps, the traditionally free web-mapping service provided by Google, will move to a paid model for its heaviest users, come the new year, according to the BBC.
The users affected are those that attract more than 25,000 hits per day – a number that “will only affect 0.35% of users,” according to Google.
Rumours are pointing to a charge of $4 per 1,000 views above the 25,000 hit limit. With this price model, Google are targeting the business uses, such as Real Estate agents and travel firms, that are using the tool to generate profits.
But some outcry has been heard concerning not-for-profit operations that are fearful that the fees could harm their operations.
“If Google wants to charge people/ companies that profit from using Google Maps, fair enough.” Says Ville Miettinen from the Microtask blog. “But charging not-for-profit crowdsourcing organisations to use maps where much of the data has itself been crowdsourced (for free) from people in the developing world… Call me a crazy idealist but that just doesn’t seem right.”
Google have justified the move, with Thor Mitchell, product manager of Maps API, saying: “We understand that the introduction of these limits may be concerning. However, with the continued growth in adoption of the Maps API, we need to secure its long-term future by ensuring that even when used by the highest-volume for-profit sites, the service remains viable.”