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Monday, December 18, 2006

Google Kills Their Search API

What the–?! Google on their SOAP API homepage writes:

As of December 5, 2006, we are no longer actively supporting the SOAP Search API. We encourage you to use the AJAX Search API instead.

(Note: at this time, I am still able to use the SOAP API, albeit it’s been very flaky for the past year or so, and worked only roughly 50% of the times I tried today.)

I think Google headquarters decided to make 2006 to be the year of surprise product killing announcements (Google Answers ended just a couple of days ago). Well, I never understood Google’s business plan for their API, except for pleasing developers, and maybe they realized they actually don’t have one. But yes, their API did please – I am (was?) a heavy user of Google’s SOAP search API, and its functionality cannot be just replaced by the AJAX based API (a widget to put Google search on your site). I guess we all have to resort to Google result screenscraping now. Or just move over to Yahoo... they provide a much greater set of APIs, too.

There are more long-term implications contained in this latest move, however; just as the killing off of Google Answers might be a permanent warning sign for future communities Google wants to assemble, the killing off of this important API might be a permanent warning sign that sometimes, Google isn’t committed to its API-using developers... which might hurt the acceptance of present or future Google APIs.

[Thanks Camden Daily and Alek!]

Update: Google changed their text. It now reads:

As of December 5, 2006, we are no longer issuing new API keys for the SOAP Search API. Developers with existing SOAP Search API keys will not be affected.

(In smaller print below, it reads: “Depending on your application, the AJAX Search API may be a better choice for you instead. It tends to be better suited for search-based web applications and supports additional features like Video, News, Maps, and Blog search results.”)

[Thanks Ionut!]


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