Generate and Set a Google Maps API Key

The Buying Buddy Plugin uses Google Maps.
To use Google Maps, a special Google Maps API Key is needed (a long unique number that will be used when the Buying Buddy widgets load on any page).
Without this Key, the Buying Buddy widgets will fail to work.

This Google API Key will come from your own Google account.
You must add your Google API Key to your Buying Buddy account for each authorized domain in your account.

Note: Credit Card is required with Google Maps

In order to use Google Maps:
- You MUST add your credit card and setup billing details with your Google account.
- You MUST activate your account so that you have a full, active account.
- However, for all active accounts, Google provides $200 of Free Use per month - which equates to 28,000 uses of the Map API, which means it's unlikely you will be charged unless you have very high traffic on your website.
- So, even if you have minimal use of Google Maps and no actual costs, Google's Terms still require that you have a valid credit card setup in a billing account with them.

This article will also show you how to set a quota so that you never exceed the free threshold.

- If charges ever are incurred, Google will notify you so you can be in complete control.
- The fees charged will be incremental over the first free $200. To put this in context, as of May 2020, Google's pricing is just $7 per month for an additional 1,000 Dynamic Map views.

1. Get Started with the Google Maps Platform

The very first thing to do is to log in to your Google account (e.g. GMAIL etc).

Once you are logged in, go to the Google Maps Platform and click the Get Started button in the middle of the screen.
Be careful and don't rush through the following panels. Don't miss the vital steps in this process!

2. Setup Billing

For a new account, you will be asked to enter some details for your account and then setup Billing.
Accept the offer of a 'Free Trial' and continue (you MUST upgrade to a full account later in this process).

Follow instructions to setup your account - you will see multiple panels and questions to work through (e.g. what type of business do you have etc.)

At the end of this account setup process, you will be directed to the billing section and asked to add your credit card and billing details.

At the end of setting up Billing

When you have completed setting up billing, you will then be shown a panel with your API Key, that says:
"Get Started ... with a Demo".

Ensure both options on this panel are selected:
- Enable All Google Maps APIs
- Create budget alerts
Finally, select MAYBE LATER to continue.

3. Protect Your API Key

The next panel says 'Protect Your API Key'.
Choose 'HTTP referrers (websites)'.

Type in your website as indicated.
It is VERY important to type this exactly as described here.
So, take care and be accurate when typing.

For example, if your website domain is https://www.charliesmithrealestate.com
.. then you would enter:
*.charliesmithrealestate.com/*
i.e. do not enter 'http', or 'www' etc. - JUST the domain name prefaced with the characters ASTERISK DOT, and followed by characters FORWARD-SLASH ASTERISK.

Then, save by selecting RESTRICT KEY.

STOP!
Do not rush the next few panels. Go slow and make sure you click the right options!

4. Turn On Automatic Billing

The next panel says "Welcome {Your Name}"
STOP! Do not go past this panel without selecting the right option!

** IMPORTANT** In the panel, identify and click the blue text to 'turn on automatic billing'.
(Do not click 'GOT IT'!)

You will then redirected and shown a panel to 'Activate your full account'.

Select ACTIVATE.

Your account is now a fully active account.
(Remember, Google provides $200 of Free Use per month - which equates to 28,000 uses of the Map API, which means it's unlikely you will be charged unless you have very high traffic on your website.)

5. Authorize Your Full Site to Use this Key

Now, the popup panels should no longer be shown.
So, go to the API Credentials page (click this link).

In the API Keys list in the main panel, click the "Maps API Key" link shown to go to 'Key Restrictions'.

On the 'Restrict and Rename Key' page, look for 'Website Restrictions'.
You will see your website shown as it was entered earlier.

Under this select ADD AN ITEM to add your website address a second time as described below:

This second entry is different and is required.
So, take care and be accurate when typing.

As per the previous example, if your website domain is https://www.charliesmithrealestate.com,
.. then in your website in the following format, which is different from the first time:
charliesmithrealestate.com/*
This time JUST the domain name (no preface), followed by the characters FORWARD-SLASH ASTERISK.
(do not enter 'http://', or 'www' etc. )

Click DONE.

At this stage you should now see two versions of your website specified, similar to this:
*.charliesmithrealty.com/*
charliesmithrealty.com/*

At this time, you may also add additional websites that will also be able to use your Key.
For example, if you have a Squarespace site with a temporary path - or you are developing on a sandbox domain, then just add the two versions of each.

Do not be tempted to change or modify any other settings or restrictions on this page!

Finally, at the bottom of this page select SAVE.

6. Add to your Buying Buddy Account.

Go to your Google Map Platform Credentials page and then select Credentials from the menu
Your API Key is shown in the API Keys table and you can use the icon on the right to copy your API Key.

Is this for a new Buying Buddy account?
Please paste your API key into an email and send to setup@buyingbuddy.com.
We will then add this to your account and send you your Buying Buddy account credentials.

Is this for an existing Buying Buddy account?
See these instructions.

Updated on May 17, 2022

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