US: Developers are now permitted to use Google’s Static Maps API outside of a web browser, announced Thor Mitchell, Product Manager, Google Maps API. Developers of mobile apps that are sold for a fee through an online store such as the Android Market and Apple App Store no longer require a Google Maps API Premier license. This brings the terms of the web based Maps APIs into line with the terms of the Android Maps API and iOS SDK.
Google periodically reviews its APIs Terms of Service, which define the terms under which the company offers these APIs to developers. Now, the company has updated these terms which contain a number of notable changes. These changes are intended to encourage use of the APIs in mobile applications and secure the long term future of the APIs as location aware applications become ever more ubiquitous.
There are also a number of changes that relate to advertising and usage limits. To ensure that the company can continue to offer the Maps APIs to developers for free, the company now requires that any new Maps API applications going forward display any advertising delivered in the maps imagery, unless the site concerned has a Google Maps API Premier license. The opt-out from displaying such advertising that was offered in earlier versions of the Terms will continue to apply to any existing Maps API applications. Information on exercising this right of opt-out will be provided on the company’s blog at least 90 days prior to the launch of any such advertising.
Google has also introduced transaction limits on the number of maps that may be generated per day by commercial Maps API web sites or applications. These limits are documented in the Maps API FAQ and will take effect on October 1st 2011. Commercial sites that exceed these limits may be required to purchase additional transactions or a Maps API Premier license. Additional transactions will be offered online which will be published on or before May 2nd 2011.
Commercial sites that consistently exceed these limits and do not purchase additional transactions online will be contacted by a Maps API Premier Sales Manager to discuss their licensing options. Not for profit applications and applications deemed in the public interest (as determined by Google at it’s discretion) are not subject to these limits. In addition, Non-profits are also encouraged to check out their eligibility for the Google Earth Outreach programme.