There are also the questions of long-term viability of the company, patents and copyright issues on the three-word locations. On their website they promise the tech will always provide free ways for individuals to use it. And in the case the company can no longer maintain the technology (or find another company to do so), they also promise to release the technology and code into the public domain.
what3words will always be free for individuals to use on our own site and apps. If or when we do charge for access to our web API or offline SDK, there will always be ways to use them for free.
In particular, we intend to support fair and equitable use of our core addressing technology. We employ a fee structure that provides qualifying organisations with a range of free and discounted usage plans, in addition to country-based pricing. Qualifying organisations will include humanitarian and not-for-profit entities in any country, and regional and national government and associated organisations registered in countries that fall under the World Bank Low-Income Country (LIC), Lower-Middle-Income Country (LMIC) or Upper-Middle-Income Country (UMIC) categories. Discounts are based on world economic indicator data compiled and published by the World Bank.
Furthermore, we understand that organisations whointegratewhat3words need assurances about the long-term viability of the technology.
Our goal is for what3words to become a global standard for communicating location. At the moment, the core what3words algorithms and data are not in the public domain. In the future, we may release some or all of our source code â" we will continually evaluate the business case for doing this.
In the meantime, we commit to the following:
If we, what3words ltd, are ever unable to maintain the what3words technology or make arrangements for it to be maintained by a third-party (with that third-party being willing to make this same commitment), then we will release our source code into the public domain. We will do this in such a way and with suitable licences and documentation to ensure that any and all users of what3words, whether they are individuals, businesses, charitable organisations, aid agencies, governments or anyone else can continue to rely on the what3words system.
Promise on pricing page.
That's a lot of promising.
I really like the idea but I'd like to know it's free and open for everyone to use without limitation. Like many things, the market will ultimately decide its fate.