The new Google Patent Search API is now available and lets you search over 7 million patents via code. It is part of the AJAX Search API of content-specific Google search utilities such as video search, local search, news search and others. This API gives you access to patent information like title of the patent, snippet style description, application filing date, patent status, patent number, patent assignees, and thumbnail image URL for the patent (more details at our API profile).
Jonathan Dingman of Google Inside notes that the patent data may not be up-to-date, given a simple search with Google as the search term. We tried an advanced search that restricted it to Google as the patent assignee, and had similar results, as the most recent Google application filing was over a year old. Compare this to the Patent Office's same search using the Patent Office's search utility. Google will undoubtedly continue to improve the product.
The main Google Patent Search page has some fun illustrations: Candy Cane Forming Machine, Device to Cool an Infant's Head, and you can set it up to view thumbnails, which gives a quick glimpse into the cornucopia of human invention. For you Wallace and Gromit fans, here are the results for pants, toaster, and alarm.