Google Maps Losing Out to OpenStreetMap
Online maps seem to be one of those features that everyone would like to have, but would be a pain to monetize. Even Google is having a hard time accomplishing the feat. The search giant has introduced a payment model where heavy users of Google Maps will have to pay between US$4 to US$10 for every additional 1,000 loads over 25,000 daily loads.
While this makes no difference to small time users like you and me, it does mean that other larger platforms which base their services off Google Maps will now have to fork out cash. Or they could just follow Wikipedia's example and adopt OpenStreetMap instead which is a free, open source alternative. Foursquare and Apple have previously made the switch as well.
Could Google have made a misstep seeing that the major players promoting the adoption of location-based services and geo-tagging have decided to switch over to a competitor? There is no questioning that the move does mark a blow for the long run viability of Google Maps. Introducing an 8-bit version, while undoubtedly cute, will not be making up the difference of lost customers.