Session tokens group the query and selection phases of a user autocomplete search into a discrete session for billing purposes. The session begins when the user starts typing a query, and concludes when they select a place and a call to Place Details is made. If the user does not make a selection, the session will end after a short time out period. Each session can have multiple queries, followed by one place selection. Once a session has concluded, the token is no longer valid; your app must generate a fresh token for each session. We recommend using session tokens for all autocomplete sessions. If you reuse a session token, the session is considered invalid and the requests are charged as if no session token was provided.
As the user types a query, an autocomplete request is called every few keystrokes (not per-character), and a list of possible results is returned. When the user makes a selection from the result list, the selection counts as a request, and all of the requests made during the search are bundled and counted as a single request. If the user selects a place, the search query is free, and only the Place data request is charged. If the user does not make a selection within a few minutes of the beginning of the session, only the search query is charged.
Let's examine this flow of events from the perspective of an app.
- A user begins typing a query to search for "Paris, France".
- Upon detecting user input, the app creates a new session token, "Token A".
- As the user types, the API makes an autocomplete request every few
characters, displaying a new list of potential results for each:
- When the user makes a selection:
- All requests resulting from the query are grouped and added to the session represented by "Token A", as a single request.
- The user's selection is counted as a Place Detail request, and added to the session represented by "Token A".
- The session is concluded, and the app discards "Token A".
For more information about how Autocomplete requests are billed, see Usage and Billing.
Create session tokens
You can create session tokens using whichever programmatic mechanism you prefer. We recommend using a version 4 UUID for session tokens.