The University Research Program for Google Search is designed to give university faculty and their research teams high-volume programmatic access to Google Search, whose huge repository of data constitutes a valuable resource for understanding the structure and contents of the web.
Our aim is to help bootstrap web research by offering basic information about specific search queries. Since the program builds on top of Google's search technology, you'll no longer have to operate your own crawl and indexing systems.
As noted, the API is available only to members of the academic community.
A similar program is now in place for Google Translate (which initially supports translations between English and Arabic, Chinese or Russian):
The University Research Program for Google Translate provides researchers, in the field of automatic machine translation, tools to help compare and contrast with, and build on top of, Google's statistical machine translation system.
A translation request returns either: A single translation, the highest scoring output of Google Translate; As above but with detailed word alignment information; A list of the n-best translations with detailed scoring information
These options can support research into n-best reranking (machine learning), additional translation components, system combinations, and who knows what else researchers may come up with.