“Google kills SOAP!”

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It's been slashdotted and also otherwise widely discussed that Google has deprecated their SOAP API. A deadly blow for SOAP as people are speculating? Guess not.

What I find striking are the differences in the licenses between the AJAX API and the SOAP API. That's where the beef is. While the results obtained through the SOAP API can be used (for non-commercial purposes) practically in any way except that "you may not use the search results provided by the Google SOAP Search API service with an existing product or service that competes with products or services offered by Google.", the AJAX API is constrained to use with web sites with the terms of use stating that "The API is limited to allowing You to host and display Google Search Results on your site, and does not provide You with the ability to access other underlying Google Services or data."

The AJAX API is a Web service that works for Google because its terms of use are very prescriptive for how to build a service that ensures Google's advertising machine gets exposure and clicks. That's certainly a reasonable business decision, but has nothing to do with SOAP vs. REST or anything else technical. There's just no money in application-to-application messaging for Google (unless they'd actually set up an infrastructure to charge for software as a service and provide support and proper SLAs for it that is saying more than "we don't make any guarantees whatsoever") while there's a lot of money for them in being able to get lots and lots of people to give them a free spot on their own site onto which they can place their advertising. That's what their business is about, not software.

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