A French court has ruled that Google’s free map service to individuals and companies is anti competitive and has fined the company up to half a million pounds. French cartographers who make money by selling maps to businesses claim Google is abusing its powerful position as a search and advertising giant by providing mapping services free of cost to everyone.

On the other hand, Google, who are sure to challenge the courts decision, claim that a free mapping service benefits and is in the best interest of internet users and that there is plenty of opportunity to compete in the field despite Google’s free services.

But it must be noted that Google’s map services are not entirely free. At least they wont be in the future. In a recent declaration on October 2011, Google proposed limit to its maps API usage. Sites exceeding the limit of 25,000 API calls a day will have to pay a premium cost. Nevertheless, the service remains free of cost to the Johnny Average of the internet.

Google has been having a tough time recently, with many governments calling for a stop to the proposed street view mapping.  Countries like France and India have stopped Google from capturing images of streets in various cities.