Google Maps isn't free for all. Back in April 2011, the company began charging for extremely heavy use of its Google Maps application programming interface (API), the system that allowed companies like Apple and Foursquare to rely on Google Maps for their mobile location services. The charges were $4.00 for every 1,000 map loads.
Both companies recently defected, with Foursquare using OpenStreetMaps, an open-sourced project instead, and Apple developing its own Maps product from a variety of partner data. Some theorized this was due to the charges.
But on Friday Google announced it was slashing the price to $0.50 for every 1,000 map loads, due to the fact that "some developers were worried about the potential costs."