Beyond the box with Google's Web API
by Jakob Jelling
Google, the most popular, and many say best, search engine, offers searchers many options to help them zero in on just what they're looking for. Although these search modifier features are documented on own site, many searchers, including experienced marketers and technically savvy people, simple don't know these features are available. But these features, along with the Google search box, are only available to human searchers, who can type in their search parameters, and perhaps some keyboard scripting programs as well. But there is a way for programmers and web site designers to access Google's database from their own sites, in the exact way they need. This is done by using Google's Web API (Application Program Interface).
With the API, programmers can use most any web programming language, such as PHP, ASP, Perl, .NET, and Java. Google's Web API provides "data hooks" that allow a remote program to access certain portions of Google easily.
You must be very aware of the Google Web API Terms of Service. You must obtain a developer key that you will include in each API use, you are allowed only 1,000 automated queries per day, and perhaps most important, you may not use the Google API for commercial purposes. It is only for your personal use, and you of course may not violate any laws or copyright protection.
Google provides a developer's kit to help you get started. Data is interchanged between Google and the application program using an XML structure, so the results from Google should be relatively easy to parse even for only moderately experienced developers. If you have problems or questions, Google offers Getting Help, Reference and FAQ links, and you will find help and discussions on any of several forums should you need more help. Just search Google - from the search box!
Jakob Jelling is the founder of http://www.sitetube.com. Visit his website for the latest on planning, building, promoting and maintaining websites.
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