Google Announces Retirement of Several Search APIs

Google said recently that it is prepared to retire five separate search APIs. Their retirement was first announced way back in 2011 and the company is just now getting around to cutting them off. Google says developers shouldn't fret, as the all-encompassing Custom-Search API has already taken their place.

The APIs being axed include the Google Patent Search API, Google News Search API, Google Blog Search API, Google Image Search API, and Google Video Search API. As is painfully obvious thanks to their names, each of these APIs powered a specific type of search. Google says it supported these apps for well more than three years since their retirement was first announced, and it is finally time to bid adieu to these search tools. These APIs will officially cease working on February 15, 2016. 

What did these APIs do? Well, the Google Patent Search API, for example, provided a JavaScript interface to embed Google Patent Search results into websites and applications. Similarly, the Google Image Search API provided a JavaScript interface to embed Google Image Search results into websites and applications, and so an and so forth. 

The Google Custom Search API is newer, slicker, and more flexible. "Google Custom Search enables you to create a search engine for your website, your blog, or a collection of websites," explains Google. "You can configure your engine to search both webpages and images. You can fine-tune the rankling,m add your own promotions, and customize the look and feel of the search results." Perhaps most importantly, developers can "monetize the search by connecting [their] engine to [their] Google AdSense account." 

Developers showed mixed reactions to the retirement of these five APIs. Some suggested the majority of Web and app developers had never heard of them, let along used them in any capacity. Others were bummed and quite literally "booed" Google for the move. 

At this point, it seems more than reasonable for Google to retire these older APIs, especially considering the tools afforded by the Custom-Search API. Google did not say what developers who still use these APIs should do come February 15, but it seems quite clear that their functionality will be broken from that point forward. 

 

Eric Zeman I am a journalist who covers the mobile telecommunications industry. I freelance for ProgrammableWeb and other online properties.

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