Google Maps to charge for heavy usage

The best things in life are free. Or at least they were. But one of the best things on the web, Google Maps, is to begin charging for heavy usage.

But there's no need to worry that your constant Google Mapping of routes to pubs from your office is going to end up costing you - the charges will be for seriously heavy users; i.e. Googlers hitting up the Map service 25,000 times or more in a day.

The BBC states that this is only around 0.35 per cent of users and will mainly affect website owners who have Maps embedded into their websites. Think hotels, bars, shops or any travel site who uses Google Maps to pinpoint their location.

The charge is expected to be $4 per 1,000 views - so nothing that the likes of Expedia can't afford.

"We understand that the introduction of these limits may be concerning," said Thor Mitchell, product manager of the Maps API at Google.

"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."