Google does not openly advertise the fact that they have different location data for different users. However there is good anecdotal evidence an hearsay that Google Maps API returning inaccurate results may be by design.
The evidence is most prevalent in the geocoding of locations. The latitude and longitude Google assigns to different addresses is not “set in stone”. It is an interesting anomaly given the fact that places on earth should not move with regard to their latitude & longitude outside of plate tectonics.
The team at Store Locator Plus® has long held a theory that Google intentionally subverts accurate location data; quite likely to gain competitive advantage for their own products and services.
For those of you in the self-service Store Locator Plus® WordPress plugins camp you are going to want to spend time protecting your Google API Keys. For those using our Store Locator Plus® managed SaaS service, this is yet another article you can skip.
The basic configuration of Google API Keys tells you to turn off ALL restrictions on the first API key you setup with Google. Turns out a lot of people have issues with configuring the keys properly and getting them put in the right place.
To make matters more complicated, some lower-end web hosting companies don’t understand security and in turn shut off critical web services that do nothing to improve security; Like disabling all communication between the web server and Google. That breaks things like the ability to Geocode locations in Store Locator Plus®.
This article is here to tell our WordPress plugin users how to properly secure their Google API keys for web hosts are configured properly.
If you are using the WordPress plugins for Store Locator Plus® you will need to manage your Google API keys on your own.
Thankfully our MySLP SaaS service users don’t have to deal with this nonsense, a benefit of having us manage the locator software for them. MySLP users login to their MySLP account, manage locations and map settings, and when they are ready copy the “generate Embed” code and past it into any page, post, or widget on their WordPress site — no plugins needed.
If you are using My Store Locator Plus® pat yourself on the back and take an extra 5 at coffee break today. You don’t need to read this article.