Are You Being Charged for Your Website’s Google Map?

Is your site impacted by Google Maps changes?

a cell phone with google maps app open on it

Previously, Google Maps were free — even if those maps included specific design changes, routes or bonus features. But recent changes mean that Google Maps that have design and development modifications or special features are no longer available for free.

Even some free Google Maps will be subject to the credit card requirement in order to function correctly. How do you know if your site is impacted? If your Google Map functions through an embedded iframe, it should be fine. But if it works through an API key, you’ll have a problem if the associated account doesn’t have a credit card on file — even if you’re using Google Maps for its free services.

What’s the difference between an embedded iframe and an API key?

Embedded iframe: It’s added to your website by copy/pasting from Google Maps using the share option or by copy/pasting the URL. Your developer might have added this, or you might have even added it yourself, since it’s relatively simple. An embedded iframe works just fine, but its customizability is very limited.

API Key: API stands for “Application Programming Interface;” API allows your site to essentially reach out to another site or program and use some of its functionality. To do this, it needs an API key, which is a little code or password that lets your site connect with the desired program or website. Installing Google Maps through API allows for a lot of customization so you can change the look and performance of the map on your site.

If your site is running Google Maps through API and has an effected Google Map, one of two things has happened: Either your Google Map is broken and won’t work on your site (you can tell if this has happened by viewing the map on your site; if it’s broken, it will say “For Developer Use Only”), or the credit card attached to the Gmail account associated with your Google Maps account is being charged (or has the potential of being charged).

Most people, even those with modified maps, won’t end up being charged at this time because Google Maps is providing a $200 credit that will cover most normal-use fees. However, if you have maps with very high traffic, if users are loading multiple maps on your site, or your map is on a high-trafficked page like your home page, you might be charged.

As long as Google Maps continues to issue the $200 credit (and there’s no indication of whether or not they’ll continue), most users shouldn’t be hit with fees, but if you’re concerned and you don’t want custom functionality, you might want to replace your API with an embedded iframe Google Map just in case. And if you do have a Google Map on your site through API and you’ve associated a credit card, be sure to monitor your account, because if your site traffic and Google Map engagement spikes, so will your bill.

If you decide that having a modified Google Map is not worth the investment and you’d like to switch to a regular iframe embed of a Google Map, Infomedia can make that change for you; contact Support at and we’ll start the conversation. If you’re already an Infomedia website client, that change will be free before December 1, 2018. If you’re not a current Infomedia customer, we can still help — reach out to Support and we can give you either a flat rate for replacing your map or talk to you about a monthly hosting and support package.  


About Carrie

Carrie has been copyediting and writing for fifteen years. Her skills were forged in the newsroom at The Birmingham Post-Herald and she’s a huge book nerd (she moonlights as Southern Living’s book reviewer), but a love of paper and ink hasn’t stopped her from mastering the digital world as well: She’s had a blog pretty much since they existed, and she’s run social media for companies big and small. Carrie’s always ready to take on a new communication challenge, lecture us about the proper use of semicolons, or defend the fact that her Instagram account is filled with selfies.

See more articles from Carrie Rollwagen

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