I dug deeper on the Google Maps API and found a lot of what I already knew about it, but a decent amount that I hadn’t looked into. Since the usability of this API is pretty dependent on your intended use, examining some of these pros and cons will be helpful.
- Documentation: The Google Maps API has strong documentation. I would expect no less from an API created by Google, but it is still nice to have, since navigating through an API without one is incredibly difficult, if not impossible.
- Interface: It is stupidly easy to make the good-looking Google Maps interface we’ve all come to know and love. Very little work needs to be done on the developer’s end to achieve this, and it ends up looking very professional.
Courtesy of: CNET
- Calculations/Functions: The functions and calculations for distances, geolocation, etc. are both intuitive and well documented, making their integration pretty straightforward for the developer.
- Daily Limit: There is a daily limit of 25,000 map loads per account per day. From there, it is an additional $0.50 per 1,000 map loads in a day, up to 100,000 map loads. While this pricing is reasonable, if you are trying to build a highly scaled application with a lot of map loads, that price is going to add up quickly.
- Trial setup: This sort of goes along with the daily limit con, but it’s still worth noting. The Google Maps API is structured as sort of a trial version. This isn’t inherently a bad thing, but you’ll have to dish out quite a bit of money if you want access to all of the Google Maps API’s bells and whistles.
All in all, the Google Maps API has a lot of power behind it. It would work out great for a really small-scale application or just tinkering around, but to access all of the power it has to offer comes at a hefty price. If nothing else, I definitely recommend digging through this API to at least see what’s happening when Siri gives you driving instructions.