Google Maps API fee cut by 88%

Google has slashed the price of using its Google Maps service on high-traffic websites and applications, as the company fights to retain its wide deployment.

The move was announced in a company blog post by Google Maps API product manager Thor Mitchell, and sees the cost of running the feature cut by as much as 88 per cent. It highlights the significance of Apple's decision to discard its rival's maps service on the forthcoming iOS 6 in favour of its own in-house application, as was announced at WWDC.

Google allows others to embed Google Maps on their own sites and services through the Google Maps API, or application programming interface. Apple may represent the highest-profile defection from the service, but the high usage fees set by Google have driven other major players away too - including the start-up Foursquare earlier this year.

The company has thus taken firm action to prevent more users jumping ship with the steep 88 per cent price reduction.

"We've been listening carefully to feedback, and today we're happy to announce that we're lowering API usage fees and simplifying limits," Mitchell said. "While the Maps API remains free for the vast majority of sites, some developers were worried about the potential costs. In response, we have lowered the online price from $4 (£2.57) per 1,000 map loads to 50 cents (32p) per 1,000 map loads."