When the Maps API Terms of Service were updated in April of this year we announced that usage limits would be introduced to the Maps API starting on October 1st. With October upon us, I’d like to provide an update on how these limits are being introduced, and the impact it will have on your Maps API sites.

The usage limits that now apply to Maps API sites are documented in the Maps API FAQ. However no site exceeding these limits will stop working immediately. We understand that developers need time to evaluate their usage, determine if they are affected, and respond if necessary. There are three options available for sites that are exceeding the limits:
To assist in evaluating whether your site is exceeding the usage limits we will shortly be adding the Maps API to the Google APIs Console. Once available you will be able to track your usage in the APIs Console by providing an APIs Console key when you load the Maps API. If you find that your site does exceed the usage limits each day you can opt to pay for your excess usage by enabling billing on your APIs Console project. We will then start billing excess usage to your credit card when we begin enforcing the usage limits in early 2012.

For very popular sites Maps API Premier is likely to be a more cost effective option. It also offers a number of additional benefits, including terms that permit for-fee and internal use, enterprise technical support, a Service Level Agreement, fixed and invoiced annual pricing, and increased quotas for the Maps API Web Services. For more information on how Maps API Premier could benefit your application please contact the Sales team using this form.

We will announce the availability of the Maps APIs in the APIs Console on this blog later this quarter, and provide more details on how to set up an APIs Console account and update your Maps API application with an APIs Console key. We will also provide at least 30 days notice on this blog before enforcement of the usage limits and billing for excess usage begins.

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. By introducing these limits we are ensuring that Google can continue to offer the Maps API for free to the vast majority of developers for many years to come.

Although we normally post to this blog when we launch a major new feature, there are also smaller changes that we release from time to time that are easy to miss. Here’s a brief roundup of some of our recent updates:

Switch to

The eagle eyed amongst you may have spotted that we have updated all of our documentation to recommend that the Maps APIs be loaded from rather than or When loaded from, the current implementation of the Maps API v3 does not rely on the exchange of cookies with Google. This improves both the security of the API, and the performance on bandwidth constrained networks. We therefore recommend all sites switch to using

Faster reflection of MapMaker edits

Edits made using MapMaker are now reflected in the Maps API at the same time they are reflected on Google Maps. For many countries, including the U.S.A., this means that corrections made with MapMaker can reach the Maps API within 15 minutes.

Map coverage of Israel

We now have map data coverage in the Maps API for Israel across all services, including map tiles, geocoding, directions, and places. Try clicking on the below map to generate routes around Jerusalem:

Street View preview

We’ve added the preview thumbnail that pops up when you hover the Street View pegman over streets before dropping him on the map. Try it now by dragging pegman over this map:

Animated transitions between 45 degree headings

Take our new animated transitions for a spin! Simply load the below map using Chrome or Safari, and click the Rotate button. For extra spininess, click twice, then zoom out!

High DPI map tiles on mobile devices

Load the JS Maps API on a mobile device with a high DPI screen, such as the Samsung Nexus S or Apple iPhone 4, and the Maps API now uses double resolution map tiles for maximum on screen fidelity.

We’re keen to continue improving the API in ways both big and small. If you have any great ideas for ways we could make the API even better, we’d love to hear them! Just submit a Feature request using the Maps API Issue Tracker, and vote for any other ideas you’d love to see implemented. If enough people vote for your idea, we’ll look into implementing it!

(Text relating to behavior of cookies and the Google Maps API v3 edited on August 6th 2012)