Starting January 1, 2012, if your website uses the Google Maps API more than 25,000 times in a day, be prepared to open the checkbook. The news comes from the BBC who states that Google is implementing these fees to protect the long-term viability of the platform.
Google claims that only 0.35% of users will be affected which we can fathom means that only third party websites who use the location service will be affected. Knowing this, the typical consumer will not see any changes to the Google Maps product in terms of fees.
The update does make a bit of sense as anyone who is hitting Google's Map servers over 25k times a day is surely to be profiting by using the service. It would appear that Google is trying to cash in on this and will reportedly charge $4 per 1,000 views over the limit. But, if your website is heavily dependent on Google's services, this will surely be an unwelcome expense that could drive users to other services such as Microsoft's Bing Maps.
While the headline of Google charging for its Maps does make for a more click happy story, the real news is that the impact will be minimal for nearly all consumers and only those who drill on Google's servers on a daily basis will see an impact.