Google APIs: XML Still Leads JSON

Of all the companies behind APIs in the ProgrammableWeb directory, Google has the most APIs. The company launched its first Google API way back in 2006. The Google Search API was a SOAP and XML-based service to access search results programmatically. How times have changed, yet many Google APIs still use XML -- and a growing number have either launched with JSON support or adopted it later.


There are 61 Google XML APIs. That means that over half of Google's APIs support XML.

While the Google Maps API supports XML for some supporting services, the most popular API to make a major use of XML is the YouTube API.

Since there are 33 dead Google APIs, it's interesting to compare those that have gone into the sunset by data format. Predictably, Google has killed a higher percentage of XML APIs than JSON, 31% vs 24% respectively.


The rise of JSON is well-documented on ProgrammableWeb, which called it the developer's choice back in 2010. There are 41 Google JSON APIs, roughly a third of all Google APIs in the directory.

Since 17 Google APIs support both XML and JSON, the popular APIs for JSON are the same as XML. Interestingly, Google acquisition Freebase API is the most popular JSON API that does not also support XML.

RSS and GData

While XML and JSON are tops, there are certainly other data formats. Two seemingly promising formats of yesteryear have been seemingly left behind by Google. There are only 8 Google RSS APIs, three of which are no longer supported at all.

Additionally, Google's own format GData launched to much fanfare. Now, as Google's site notes, "most newer Google APIs are not Google Data APIs."

If you're interested in the history of Google APIs, be sure to check out Google's first 10 APIs, all launched in 2005-2006.

Adam DuVander is Developer Communications Director for SendGrid and Contributing Editor of ProgrammableWeb. Previously he edited this site and wrote for Wired. You can follow him on Twitter.