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Google throttles one search API, many wonder why

Google earlier this month decided to cut off access to its Google Search SOAP API to new customers, a move that has set of concerns from developers and others who wondered about the bigger technology and business implications.

The Google Search API, which was in beta, is designed to let people to write programs that use SOAP--Simple Object Access Protocol--to perform a Google search. Closing the API to new users appears to have first been reported on the O'Reilly Radar blog.

On a discussion board, Google product manager Tom Stocky said that Google will allow existing users to continue using the API but the company is now favoring another way to tap into Google's search engine programmatically: via its Ajax Search API.

That API is designed to let people put a search box onto their Web application and build Web applications on Google's search engine. As a side note, the technical director of the Google Ajax Search API is Mark Lucovsky, a former Microsoft distinguished engineer whose defection to Google supposedly prompted Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to throw a chair in anger.

In the ensuing discussion, people who relied on the API for their applications voiced their frustration.

More deeply, some people wondered whether Google is essentially picking a winner in an ongoing over the best way to make Web services.

Perhaps Google is trying to influence technical debates--it also has developed GData, another data access API. But ultimately Google is likely favoring the Google Ajax Search API for business reasons--that is, they expect to see more better Web applications and more traffic through that method.