Google Maps API is now going to begin charging money for their API services. Along with charging for access to their API, they also hope to provide many more features to the Google development world. What your paying for is the set of tutorials, interactive training, tutorials, and the community that comes with developing with Google, all meant to spur a new wave of implementations.
Maybe Google feels that creating a community around development and getting some skin in the game will help push developers to complete their projects and brag about them to the community of developers around them. Or maybe building this community will help get teams of developers to work on particular ideas that can spur the rate of growth of these products. It’s an interesting idea. Apple charges $99 for their developers license, but this is only in the iOS / X-Code space. Google’s reach is much more entrenched, including many JS API’s that could soon join Google Maps with charges.
I’m not too sure how I feel about this. I don’t think that they will get too much money out of it, but if it’s a reasonable price and I have a project associated with an Google API that I need to develop on, of course I’m going to pony up the money to do it. But will this keep people who are simply exploring out of the mix? And is that worth the risk of charging? All to build a community and more advanced tutorials? I’m not sure and we will soon see.