December 20, 2006

Google "SOAP API" / "AJAX API" - replacement projects, and a Yahoo opportunity

The Google SOAP API, a system for getting Google search results in a way programmers can easily use them, is no longer being supported by Google (non-techies: SOAP is a protocol, like Java is a programming language), in favor of, essentially, a web ad box (aka "AJAX API"). The system hasn't been working well for a while now, and it looks like the plug is being pulled on it.

The basic meaning of this, is that Google is telling independent search developers to get lost, in favor of billboard displayers.

Everybody talks about search-as-a-service, but few people want to do something about it. I suspect this is one of those projects where the cost to run it exceeds what people will really pay for it. I've had ideas of my own in this direction, but the economics is daunting.

Anyway, in the ensuing discussion, there's been relatively little attention paid to the projects to reverse-engineer Google's "web ad box". This mention may be useless in terms of dissemination, but I'll do it anyway:

Cracking Google AJAX Search API

Written by Matthew Wilkinson
Monday 18 December 2006 20:20:09

Recently, Google disabled the use of it's Google Search SOAP API. It now recommends that you use the Google AJAX Search API, which displays a search box on your website, much like a widget. This of course denies developers the means by which to fetch Google Search results and use them in their website. However, me and Martin Porcheron over at MPWEBWIZARD, decided to crack this new API to get some search results out of it.

There's also a screen-scraping EvilAPI (via Google Blogoscoped).

Memo to any Yahoo corporate readers: I assume you already know this, but there's a golden opportunity to grab some of the "cool" from Google here. Set up a compatible server, so anyone who has a Google SOAP API application can switch over to using Yahoo just by switching servers. Yes, it's a lot of server work for no direct revenue, and Yahoo already has a search API, and Google may make threatening legal noises. But you'll rarely have a better opportunity to grab mindshare from developers than now: "Google doesn't want you - but we do!".

By Seth Finkelstein | posted in google , yahoo | on December 20, 2006 11:59 PM (Infothought permalink)
Seth Finkelstein's Infothought blog (Wikipedia, Google, censorware, and an inside view of net-politics) - Syndicate site (subscribe, RSS)

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