What is the Google Maps Platform?
As you may have heard, Google has recently revamped their entire Google Maps developer platform and introduced the Google Maps Platform. This is part of a series of updates designed to evolve and streamline their core APIs - however, this also presents some new challenges for Authors and their customers.
Until recently, an API key was not required to display a map using the Google Maps platform. In 2016, it was announced that keyless access to the API was to be restricted over the next few years. With this two year grace period coming to an end this June, items utilizing any part of the Google Maps platform cannot gain access to it without an API key.
In a statement that Google issued this month, they also announced that in addition to a valid API key, from June 11th, 2018, a current Google Cloud Platform billing account (using a credit card) is required to access core products. Once billing is enabled, all users will get access to $200/month of free monthly usage in credits to use for Maps, Routes and Places products. You can check out their Pricing Sheet to get an idea of how much usage you may be able to get within the limit.
To help you get prepared for these upcoming changes, we have explored some of the key implications of the Google Maps Platform changes that will impact you - as Authors, and the updates required for your current and future customers.
What Do These Changes Mean for Authors?
The changes to the Google Maps Platform will specifically affect CodeCanyon and ThemeForest Authors who use Google Maps in their items. Authors will need to update their items to ensure that they will continue working correctly. Items that do not pass an API key, or have no option to replace the API key that is included with the item, are going to leave customers without a straightforward way to resolve the issue.
Depending on which API of the Google Maps platform you’re using, the impact may vary from Google returning a low-resolution map watermarked with “for development purposes only” to showing an error message, or simply ceasing to function entirely.
When Google’s changes take effect, any item that does not work as advertised may result in refund requests and will be disabled until related issues are resolved.
Please note that we do not have any control over these changes and it will be your responsibility to ensure that you have updated your items to meet the new requirements for your customers. Check out Google’s User Guide for more information on these changes, as well as the Transition Tool that they have provided.
Next Steps & Recommendations
We recommend that Authors move to the basic embed API to prevent issues with customers having to replace the API key, as well as their demo sites not being charged for the visitors we send to their demo.
We also recommend Authors explore OpenStreetMap, and other libraries, like Leaflet, that wrap around the OpenStreetMap APIs.
Additional Reading and Resources
We’ll be around for the next seven days responding in batches to any questions you have. Please remember our community guidelines as you post. Thanks.