Google’s Ajax Search API

by Eric Enge

“What’s at your fingertips here is a way to build entirely new search environments, and base them on the Google index.”

One of the things that I learned about recently is the Ajax search API from Google. This is a cool new tool that has gotten little publicity so far, but really offers a lot of promise. The Ajax search API lets you do two major things:

  1. Place a dynamic search box on your site
  2. Programmatically manipulate the search results

Let’s review these in detail. First, you can place a search box on your site today, without the use of the Ajax search API. The difference is that now you can have those results get diplayed within your site.

In addition, you can programmatically examine and modify the results before displaying them. For example, you could choose to eliminate the results of your competitors on the fly, before showing the results.

The next neat thing about this is that you can use the Ajax search API to search may Google properties:

  1. Web Search
  2. News Search
  3. Video Search
  4. Blog Search
  5. Local Search
  6. Google Maps
  7. Google Custom Search Engines

In fact, you can show your results from more than one, or all, of these properties at once! The system also allows you to customize the look and feel of the output. What’s at your fingertips here is a way to build entirely new search environments, and base it on the Google index.

So, let’s take a quick look at an example. Here is a pre-canned search result I put together after searching on “Matt Cutts videos”:

 
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I built this thing in a snap using the Ajax search API Wizards provided by Google. Notice that if you click on the videos that you end up watching them while remaining within our site.

Look here to see some interesting Sample Ajax API Search engines highlighted by Google.

It will take a programmer a lot more experienced than I to delve into all the things that you can do with this program, but there is a lot of cool stuff here. Hopefully, this will begin to get the visibility it deserves in the near future.

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