Google is feeling the heat. Things haven't been going great for Google Maps lately, Apple's move to introduce its own mapping app in iOS 6 is a significant blow to Google.
The fact that several big players have stopped using the Google Maps API after Google started charging last year didn't help.
It seems that Google is realizing that Maps' domination may not be as strong as it though since it's dropping prices quite significantly for heavy users of the API.
What's more, it's also enabling developers to use custom tiles for the maps at the same price as the regular, Google-provided ones.
"As you may know, last year we introduced limits on the number of free maps that developers could show daily through the Google Maps API," Google wrote.
"Since then, we’ve been listening carefully to feedback, and today we’re happy to announce that we’re lowering API usage fees and simplifying limits for both Styled and regular maps," it announced.
Heavy API users will only be charged $0.50 per 1,000 map loads compared to the $4 currently charges. That's a considerable reduction which should dissuade developers from looking at alternatives.
At the same time, Styled Maps, i.e. customized ones will now be free for the same number of uses as regular maps and will cost the same above the free limit.
A year ago Google Maps was going strong. There was no real contender on the web and it was the default map on both Android and iOS. It was doing so great that Google decided to start charging the big users of the API.
But a year is a long time, a lot of people turned to Open Street Maps as an alternative to Google Maps, Foursquare for example. And then came the Apple bombshell.