AJAXing Google’s SOAP API

    December 18, 2006

There are many webmasters who leverage Google’s search results and other related data by using their SOAP API. However, what are these folks to do now that Google is no longer supporting it?

That’s right; Google has vacated its SOAP API in favor of the new one, which was developed using the AJAX architecture.

Before those of you using the original API descend on Mountain View in a panicked state, be advised the SOAP API still works although Google will not be issuing any more keys for that particular API. From now on, users will be asked to download the AJAX version.

For those of you who are confused about the two development styles, Wikipedia has more. SOAP stands for Simple Object Access Protocol and in reference to Google’s API, the technology is primarily used to relay XML-based messages from the client to the server.

AJAX is defined as Asynchronous JavaScript and XML. The idea behind AJAX to reduce the amount of full-page loads associated with standard content updating. By using AJAX, the entire page doesn’t need to be reloaded – only the section being updated. A

great example of AJAX in action is the Google personalized homepage. The content modules are developed using AJAX.

Speaking of the AJAX version, does it perform like its SOAP predecessor does? In a word – no, it does not. SearchEngineRoundtable’s Barry Schwartz has more:

After careful review of the product, I felt like I lost my SEO thunder or some bully kid had stolen my bunny if I was a kid. I assume the logic must be, if it’s AJAX, it must be cool. Kidding aside, the AJAX is a nice service that lets users place an AJAX search box on their site. Its useful, but the API key it provides doesn’t do anything for any of the SEO tools out there that require a Google API key.

As of this writing, Google has not explained why they discontinued support of the SOAP API, so we are left with the speculation of others to figure it out. Most likely, the reason for the switch has to do with Google’s further embrace of the AJAX technology (personalized desktop is done in AJAX).

However, this is undoubtedly a small comfort for those who have been referred to the SOAP version. If the AJAX version was more robust, it’s doubtful there’d be any outcry… but when you change the technology and the functionality, there will be some unhappy users.

Aside: according to Barry’s post, Google is still issuing SOAP API keys. However, when I tried to apply for one using the link provided, I was taken to a Google 404 page.

When I tried to backtrack my way to the beginning of the sign-up process, I was taken back to the page where Google says they will no longer actively support SOAP.

Add to Del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit | Furl

Chris Richardson is a search engine writer and editor for WebProNews. Visit WebProNews for the latest search news.