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Yankee: Google's dandy API will help developers

Yankee: Google's dandy API will help developers

According to an analyst from The Yankee Group, enterprises should assign at least one developer to keep tabs on Google's recently released Web service API project because it will have a sizeable impact on the widespread development of Web services.

Neal Goldman, a research director at the Boston-based technology research firm, said letting developers query Google's search engine via their own Web services is not that complicated, but it represents the first large scale experiment highlighting Web services technology.

"What it's done is opened a lot of people's brains to new ideas," said Goldman. "They're coming up with all new and interesting things, much more than if they hadn't opened it up."

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Since mid-April, Google has allowed developers to build non-commercial Web services that, using SOAP and WSDL, can query Google's vast database of Web pages. Though Google is limiting use of the service to 1,000 queries per day per application, Yankee Group has reported that more than 10,000 developers so far have experimented with the API.

One example of a Web service using Google's APIs is a free Web service developed by Cape Clear Software. By sending an e-mail to with a search term in the e-mail subject line, its Web service will automatically query Google's database for that term and reply with the top 10 most relevant results.

"I think there are a bunch of new, interesting ideas coming out of the project, and savvy developers can look at that and apply certain things to their business or set of applications," Goldman said.

For instance, Goldman said one idea would be a Web service that recognized when a Web site added new content, and then sent a request on behalf of that site to Google's indexing mechanism to request that the new pages be indexed.

Not only would such a Web service add pages to Google's database faster, but Goldman said Google could also turn it into a business model by charging companies to have their new Web pages indexed more quickly.

Since Google's API is the first large-scale Web service trial, if Google encounters glitches along the way -- such as security or heavy usage problems -- developers could learn from those lessons as well.

"There shouldn't be any reason why it wouldn?t work" the way Google intended, Goldman added, "but sometimes you never know until you try."

Goldman said the fact that a high-profile company like Google is experimenting with Web services proves that the Web services industry is on the cusp of explosive growth, but he cautioned against diving head first into developing mission-critical Web services. He said the market still needs to address service level management, versioning and monitoring of APIs.

"For example, if I build an application based on a component like Google's, and it doesn't work because that component is broken. I'd be on the hook," said Goldman. "It's still a risk betting an application on someone else's components."


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