Taxi hailing apps have changed the way how taxi businesses used to run before. The technology aided solutions have enhanced the pace, convenience, and the overall riding experience for both riders and the customers.
One key element that has assisted in this taxi revolution is the GPS. The GPS has solved numerous issues for drivers, customers, and the admin. It’s almost impossible to imagine an app based taxi business without the GPS.
For any entrepreneur looking for a Taxi booking app would have two major questions:
- How to integrate the GPS service in your app?
- Which GPS service you must go for?
Let’s start with the latter question. When it comes to GPS service there’s only one name that rules. And it’s Google Maps.
Why Google Maps?
Google Maps is undoubtedly the most widely used mapping service in the world. There are reasons as to why Google Maps have been on the top. Let’s have a look at them one by one.
It’s the biggest maps service
One thing that makes Google Maps standout is the fact that it encompasses almost the whole world. This means a huge bonus for your taxi business as your driver will always get GPS assistance even he/she is in the remotest region of the planet.
It has a humongous amount of data
Another big reason to choose Google Maps over any other service is the mammoth amount of data that Google has collected over the years.
Google Maps is very close to an ideal framework for mapping. It provides you with information such as transit schedules, traffic information, changes in city layouts and many more. This information is vital for your customers using your app.
We saw how Google Maps is the only game in the town. Now, let’s see what are the essential APIs that your taxi booking system must entail.
Important Google Maps API which you must integrate
Once you’ve reached the larger audience your next step would be to retain them. Taxi management software comes in handy here too.
Places autocomplete API
This API is called whenever a user enters the pick-up or drop-off location. Whenever the user types few letters and stops for a while, the search bar will show a drop-down list. The API would be called every time the search-bar shows the drop down list.
This API helps in providing accurate locations with minimal keystrokes. On an average it takes 4-6 API calls for a user to enter both pick-up and drop-off location.
Once the customer selects the correct location from the drop-down list, the geocoding API will locate that place on the maps with geographical coordinates like latitudes and longitudes. This API helps you to place markers on the maps.
Distance matrix API
The Distance Matrix API provides you with information such as distance and time that a cab would take from the origin to destination. Information sent by this API is based on the route selected between the two points.
This API is useful because following the “Straight Line” approach to find the nearest taxi often causes misleading results.
It also solves confusion in the cases where the taxi is near the rider but on the opposite side of the road which would cause cab to take more time to reach the destination.
This API determines directions between the locations. It provides your drivers with directions while driving. Direction API is also used to show the ETA (estimated time of arrival) to the user. Since ETA changes with time, the direction API is called periodically after a fixed interval of time.
Direction API also provides the estimated fare to the customer before the start of the trip. This fare is based on the routes and the current traffic conditions.
Maps static API
The working principle is quite simple, it just creates the maps which is based on URL parameters.
These URL parameters are sent through standard HTTP request. At the end it returns the map image that you can display on web page.
Pricing for Google Maps API
We saw how important Google Maps is for your system. But you might be having a question that how much would it cost. So, let’s talk about the pricing of Google Maps API.
It’s important to understand this since Google changed its method of billing certain APIs and the features. The new pay-as-you-go pricing plan is in effect since June 11, 2018.
What is SKU?
Before we proceed it’s important to get familiar with this term as the total usage is defined in terms of SKUs.
So, SKU is the combination of the Product API + the function it calls for. For ex. If you called Places API for place details then it will constitute an SKU.
Similarly, the product can have multiple SKUs which are billed differently as per their rates.
For ex. if the product requires to call Places autocomplete API for accurate location and Places API for places details then the total cost will be the sum of individual SKU* rate of each API type.
Pricing of the SKU is based on the slab system. It includes three slabs which are: 0-100,000; 100,001-500,000; 500,001+. The rates for all the slabs varies from one another.
Google provides $200 free credit each month
It’s important to note that Google provides you with a free credit of $200 every month. It means that whatever will be your total cost at the end, there will be an automatic deduction of $200 from it.
In other terms you can convert this $200 free credit into the number of free elements or calls for each APIs.
I think we got a pretty good idea about how the cost is calculated now, let’s see how much would all the essential APIs which we mentioned before would cost.
|SKU||$ 200 Monthly Free Credit Equivalent Usage||Monthly Price Per Thousand|
|Autocomplete – Per Requests||Up to 70,000 Requests||$ 2.83||$ 2.27||Contact Sales for volume discounts|
|Geocoding||Up to 40,000||$ 5||$ 4|
|Distance Matrix||Up to 40,000||$ 5||$ 4|
|Directions||Up to 40,000||$ 5||$ 4|
|Maps Static||Up to 100,000||$ 2||$ 1.6|
In the above table you can see that each SKUs has different rates depending upon the slabs. The rates mentioned above are per thousand units. In case, your usage exceeds 500,001 loads then you’ve to contact the Google’s sales department.
However, these are the not the only APIs which are used. As mentioned before, different APIs might be used for a single function. So, the pricing of all other APIs and their combinations varies.
You can see that the table mentions no. of requests or loads which are equivalent to the free $200 credit provided by Google.
If you’ve already decided which are the APIs you’re going for and want to check the overall cost then go to price calculator.
GPS and mapping service is an inevitable part of a taxi booking app. Moreover, it becomes important that you choose the best service while keeping in mind your budget constraints.
I hope this article brought clarity in knowing the importance and the pricing of the Google Maps APIs integration.
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