google maps london mapWell this is an interesting twist, Google is to start charging for Google Maps usage from January 2012 according to this BBC news article.

The charge will be levied on any software using the Google Maps API service, making over 25’000 map hits per day.

So this shouldn’t affect individual users in anyway, and in fact Google claims the charge will only actually impact 0.35% of users – presumably websites and services that make use of frequent Google Maps lookups from within their ecosystem. The charge is rumoured to be $4 per 1000 views over the 25’000 limit.

Thor Mitchell, product manager of the Maps API at Google said:

We understand that the introduction of these limits may be concerning, however, with the continued growth in adoption of the Maps API, we need to secure its long-term future by ensuring that even when used by the highest-volume for-profit sites, the service remains viable.