Not totally unexpected, Google announced they will soon be charging Maps API developers for usage of the Google Maps API.
Google said now that it is October, six months after they updated their terms of service, they will start enforcing the new pricing options for the API. They noted, "no site exceeding these limits will stop working immediately."
Instead, they will soon ask you for your credit card and in "early 2012" begin charging you for usage.
Your options include:
- Reduce your usage to below the limits
- Opt-in to paying for your excess usage at the rates given in the FAQ
- Purchase a Maps API Premier license
Many in the developer community are upset, but not all.
A WebmasterWorld thread has one saying:
Considering the amount of money Google has spent building the best maps on the planet IMO, it's about time they started charging. Paying to use Google maps, just in order to maintain the street view alone, is worth it.
Some say that Google gives away an addictive drug and then once you're hooked, they start charging you for it.
To be honest, developers can always switch to Bing.
Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.