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If the developers in your newsroom seem unusually stressed this week, it’s probably because Google will start charging for use of the Google Maps API after Jan. 1. “An era has ended for the first API that really made mashups mainstream,” writes ReadWriteWeb’s Marshall Kirkpatrick. For basic maps, Google will allow 25,000 uses of the API free per day (9.125 million a year). That drops to 2,500 per day (912,500 a year) for maps that use custom styles. Above that, Google will start charging by the use or try to sell an “enterprise” license. According to Serdar Tumgoren, a developer at The Washington Post, that license costs $10,000 for a million page views a year and goes up to $40,000 for 5 million a year.
“5 million PVs per year is not a lot for a large news site,” tweeted Ken Schwencke, who works at the Los Angeles Times. Wired.com’s Scott Gilbertson writes that “Google appears to be interested mainly in collecting fees from sites with consistently heavy traffic rather than experiments that see a one-time traffic spike.” But, PolitiFact developer and University of Nebraska journalism professor Matt Waite said via Twitter, it puts developers in the “perverse situation where you’d want traffic, but not that much. … I really hope this unleashes renewed interest in open mapping tech, in newsrooms and out. It’s got my attention.” Scott Klein, ProPublica’s editor of news applications, asked why custom styles cost dramatically more, prompting Washington Post developer Jeremy Bowers to respond, “I dig custom maps. But it’s going to cost resources in an election year.” || Glass half-full: GoogleMapsAPI tweeted in response to concerns: “Google Maps API is still free! Just has a limit of 25k maps/day. That means pricing only affects the top 0.35% sites!”