Google appear to be changing a lot of things these days and one of them is the policy around using their Google Maps API on your website.
The basics of the new policy is any site that has more than 25,000 page loads per day of their map, for more than 90 consecutive days, will be charged. The charge is only a few dollars for an additional 1,000 page loads. What constitutes a page load? If there is a map on your contact page then a page load would be every visitor (including repeat visitors) to that contact page. Once the page is loaded, however, they can use the map as much as they like and this won't count towards the 25,000 limit.
Clients first response is usually one of unease as not wanting to get charged any extra and also not wanting their map to suddenly disappear. There are two important facts to be aware of. First, your site needs to break the 25,000 limit every single day for a period of 90 days before any action will be required. This 90 day limit is to allow for sudden peaks in traffic to your website e.g. if you posted a high profile blog article or video that attracted tens of thousands of visitors from around the world for a few weeks and then went back to normal. Secondly, we have checked over our clients statistics and even our most competitive clients were only reaching around 4,000 page loads per day.
So what does this mean for you? Not a lot. This policy change is really aimed at the high profile websites and companies using their service. Google always intends to help support the smaller companies and, if they can get a few dollars out of the large companies to help pay for it, then that's exactly what they'll do.
To read more about the change, and see some FAQ around it, click here