Google tests search tools for developers

The search company is testing a service that lets Web developers search its vast Internet database and list the results on their own sites.

Google is quietly testing a new service that lets Web developers perform automated searches of its vast Internet database and publish the results on their own sites.

The service, launched Thursday, is called Google Web APIs, for application programming interfaces. The tools let noncommercial software developers "query more than 2 billion Web documents directly from their own computer programs," according to Google's Web site. For now, the service is free.

After registering with Google and downloading an instruction kit, developers are allowed to conduct up to 1,000 automated queries a day--a practice that is forbidden on the site otherwise. Google used the SOAP and WSDL standards to create the APIs. SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) lets businesses connect their computing systems over the Internet; WSDL (Web Services Description Language) aims to improve messaging-interoperability technology.

The company has placed restrictions on the service, limiting it to "personal, noncommercial use." By agreeing to Google's terms of service, developers promise not to use the service with products that compete with Google. Developers own the intellectual property to any applications they create.

"The goal of Google Web APIs is to extend the reach of the Google search engine to the Web development community," said Google spokesman David Krane. "This is a free development toolkit mainly to enable software developers to experiment with several of Google's popular search services, including search results, cache technology and our spell-correction technology."

The move comes as Google seeks to broaden its business model and boost revenue. Earlier this year, the search provider introduced an enterprise search server. It also recently launched new bid-for-placement tools for advertisers that are seeking higher rankings alongside its results pages.

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