The company lowers prices for big outlets' access to its iconic view of the world.
For seven years, Google has been hosting a Maps API that web developers have been using to build unique maps and visualizations based on Google's huge store of data. Awesome journalistic efforts like chicagocrime.org and awesome services like padmapper.com have arisen from the availability of that API, building on its rich architecture and finding new ways to make maps useful. The API was essentially a public service, but public service with a nice fringe benefit: By opening itself up to developers' creativity, Google helped to make its particular map -- its muted shades of blues and greens -- into our default vision of the world.
But Google, last year, incited some anger -- or at least some anxiety -- among the developers who rely on the Map API. The company introduced limits to the API itself, and announced a new premium (read: charged-for) service directed at its highest-volume users. The changes were explicitly focused on the heaviest employers of the maps API -- not the at-home hobbyists so much as the large news organizations of the world. Those power users were a small fraction of all the developers who used the API. (And non-profit organizations, even the big ones, were exempt from any charges.)