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Friday, March 2, 2007

Behind the Scenes of the Google AJAX API

Eric Enge and John Biundo* put up a great in-depth interview with Google AJAX (and GData) API designer Mark Lucovsky. Mark explains how the AJAX Search API (released June, 2006) came about:

What I was interested in is that Google is known for search, and we have search across a wide variety of backends. Could we make search as easy to integrate, and as useful, as we have done with [the Google Maps API]? So that’s where I started from, looking at how do we get search on peoples’ web pages with the same kind of utility that they have with Maps. So, we set out to do this JavaScript based version of the Search API. Instead of saying that there is a search form and then results are laid out underneath the form, and what you are getting is basically chunks of HTML, we went a different way. We have a Search Control that you can put on a page, but we also have a two-tier system, where you have a very flexible UI in the Search Control, but underneath the Search Control are these core search objects for web search, blog search, news search, video search, local search. (...)

So, you can do a search, get a handful of results, and then you can decide, do I want to draw them on my page, or do I want to use the data in a slightly different way.

Unfortunately there’s no statement on how the Google SOAP API fits into this, and why Google decided it was in their best interest to drop the server-side SOAP model and replace it with their current client-side AJAX model. Yahoo, for example, delivers their search APIs as REST (XML) objects, which are easy to handle on the server-side to generate all kinds of output. Is the difference here that the AJAX API will get the chance to display Google ads which webmasters won’t be able to remove?

See the Google AJAX Search API.

*Eric and John previously co-blogged here to explain Google’s Custom Search Engine.

[Via Google’s blogs.]


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