Google Maps Might Be Getting Too Popular to Be Free

One of the central tenets of the Google Mothership's model is "free." Everything's free! Free, free, free. Except, um, when it gets too popular? Starting January 1st of next year, developers will be charged when their apps access the Google Maps API more than 25,000 times in a day.

The rumored rate is $4/1,000 over 25k, but it's notable that this is happening at all. Having to charge anyone, even the estimated 0.35 percent of users Google estimates, according to BBC, is an admission that its model for Maps is flawed, or at the very least doesn't have efficiency in scale. And for a service as popular as Google Maps, that might end up causing some bigger problems down the road. [BBC via BGR]