This page lays out some of the differences between our service
and Google's geocoder and hopefully helps make the transition to
using our service as easy as possible.
At a high level there are
three major differences:
We use open data
Before we dive in ...
It is important to note that you can glaldy use our geocoding API
Many customers use both
first trying our service, and then only using Google if
they are unhappy with our response. In this way they can typically
cut their Google spend by 90+ percent
Built with open data
Because we use open data -
see the full list of datasources
you're able to do much more with the geocoding results.
store the results as long as you like
(even if you stop working with us). You can
display our results on any map
you like, while Google results can only be displayed on a Google map.
use the results publicly or behind a firewall
Finally, when you come across a data
problem in the data you can fix it. With proprietary services like
Google all you can do is hope they eventually fix it.
Read our detailed look at
the benefits of open data
You can see our prices
on our pricing page
and here's detailed comparison of
Google maps geocoding pricing versus OpenCage
but beyond the fact that we are a much more affordable option, you
should also note that
our entire pricing model is different
Google requires a credit card at sign-up. We do not.
Our tiered usage limits are "soft", which means
you will never have pricing surpries.
When a customer reach their daily limit
nothing happens; they are not charged more, everything keeps working as
before. Short-term spikes are no issue.
If your daily average over the course of a month is over the usage
limit of your tier, we will ask you to move up from the next billing
We win by being
a stable, long-term partners for our clients
not by running a meter when they suddenly need a bit more.
Technical differences in API request and response
Please take a look at
our API documentation
for the full details (don't worry it is a single page), but here we
attempt to layout some of the key conceptual differences between
the two services.
Both services require an API key, supplied in the
You will find your key in your account dashboard.
Google requires an
parameter for forward geocoding and
for reverse geocoding.
We instead require
for both forward and reverse geocoding.
request format documentation
where you can also learn about the
various optional parameters
While Google only supports JSON and XML, we support JSON, XML,
Google supports structured queries. We do not.
This is intentional, our goal is to keep the service as
simple as possible for developers to comprehend and get
productive with our service. Please follow the steps laid out in our
guide to query formatting.
By default we provide lot of other relevant information about
the location of each result, we call these
Google does not.
Both services return different components of the location
hierarchy, Google does this in a field called
we do it in the
portion of the result.
The comprehensiveness and values may differ between the two
Learn more about our
and how we use them to create a well formatted local address
Google returns the type of match in a field called
We provide a
that tells you the size of the result.
Separately we also provide the
key and value in the
portion of the result.
One more thing ...
One final point - many clients tell us they like
our approach to privacy
and that they aren't excited about sharing even more data with Google.