In late July, ProgrammableWeb informed readers of Google's decision to restrict unauthorized access to its unpublished Autocomplete API. Today marks the day when Google officially takes action on its announcement. Google originally expected use of the API to solely complement Google's Search capabilities. However, many developers have used the API for purposes Google never anticipated or desired.
For users who desire to integrate an autocomplete functionality within their sites and apps, Google recommends Google Custom Search Engine. CSE allows developers to deliver autocomplete functionality in correlation with the search feature. For users who already utilize CSE, today's action will have no effect.
Don't expect today's action to reflect an upcoming wave of restricted API access from Google. In fact, in its original announcement about restricted access, Google fully admitted that granting access to unpublished APIs often provides massive, mutual benefit to both the developer community and Google. As an example, the company indicated that the initial release of the Google Maps API was unpublished. The Google Maps API continues to serve as one of Google's most used and loved APIs.
Google supports more than 80 APIs, and its API strategy continues to grow as the company matures. If there was any doubt of its future intention, Google's Peter Chiu affirmed: "There have been multiple times in which the developer community's reverse-engineering of a Google service via an unpublished API has led to great things." Unfortunately for the Autocomplete API, the risk outweighed the reward, and access to the API will halt today.