Google have recently announced important changes to the Google Maps API – the interface which allows you to embed Google Maps on your website.
Beginning on June 11, 2018, you’ll need to enable billing with a credit card and have a valid API key for all projects.
What this means for you
After June 11, if you do not have a valid Google Maps API key and billing account your maps will switch to a low-resolution version and have a watermark!
If you are a graphics.coop client you will need to supply your own API key to continue using Google Maps as normal.
Supplying billing information doesn’t mean you will be charged. Most sites will be covered by the $200 of free monthly usage that Google grants. Only the very biggest sites with a heavy dependence on maps will need more than this. See Google Maps pricing for more details.
What is an API key and how do I get one?
An API key is a unique value produced by a software developer as an identifier. It looks like a long string of letters and numbers.
API keys are used to check that users have the necessary permissions to use a product and are using it in a way that complies with the Terms of Service.
To get a Google Maps API key you need to go through the following steps:
- Create a Google Account (you can skip this step if you already have one).
- Set up billing for Google Maps Platform.
- Enable Google Maps Platform and generate your API key.
1. Creating a new Google Account
You don’t have to do this step if you already have a Google Account for another service e.g. Google Analytics.
Otherwise, go to https://console.cloud.google.com/
Click on Create account.
Complete the information on the form and click Next when done.
Check your email and find the verification code in the email Google just sent you. You should have a six digit code. Copy it.
Enter the code in the space provided and click the Verify button.
You’ll be asked for:
- your phone number
- your birthday
- your gender
Note that phone number is optional, and you don’t have to state a gender if you don’t wish to.
Use the Next button to continue.
Click the Create Account button.
You should now be on https://console.developers.google.com/apis/dashboard
You may see this dialog:
You can choose No for the first question but must choose Yes to the second question to proceed. Click Accept to finish.
2. Setting up billing
Log into your Google Account if you are not already logged in.
Click on the blue Get Started button. This dialog will appear in the centre of the screen:
Click the Continue button.
Name your project – you can rename it from the default. Project names must be between 4 and 30 characters long and may only contain letters, numbers, spaces and hyphens.
Now you need to create a new billing account.
Click Create Billing Account.
Name your billing account and click the Continue button.
Confirm your location and currency.
Set up your billing profile:
Account type: Defaults to Business (click on the pencil icon to change)
This setting is permanent – so make sure you get it right! It may be used for tax and identity verification.
Select Business if this is for a:
- educational institution.
Otherwise, select Individual.
Tax information: If you are a business, click the pencil icon to add a VAT number (optional).
Name and address:
This is the legal address of your business or home.
Add one person’s name and email here. This is the person Google will contact with any payments-related questions.
Keep a note of who that person is.
Every profile must have a primary contact. You can’t delete a primary contact but you can reassign that role to another user.
For some products, the primary contact may get an email receipt whenever anyone makes a payment using that profile.
Add your payment information here.
Available payment methods are determined by country and the type of payment selected in How you pay.
You can pay by bank account as well as debit/credit card.
You won’t be charged; your payment information is used to verify your identity until you upgrade.
When done, click Submit and enable billing.
3. Getting your Maps API key
You will see this dialog:
You will see an API key in the box (it’s blanked out in the screenshot below).
Copy this key – you can use the copy button which is the two sheets icon – and click Done. Keep a note of it safely.
If you are a graphics.coop client, send the API key to firstname.lastname@example.org with the Subject line “Google Maps API key”.
If not, look for a suitable WordPress plugin to add Google Maps to your website and follow the plugin’s instructions on where to add the API key.