A gaggle of Google web services

Google made news recently by opening its search databases up to third parties as a web service. The Google API allows developers to query Google's database of billions of web pages.

The API is available as a web service, using the web standards SOAP and WDSL. This opens up Google to developers working with Java, Perl, Visual Studio, or any other platform.

Google's action is just beginning to bear fruit. Developers are creating a wide variety of applications built upon the Google API. Some of these applications are useful only as proof-of-concepts for web services, while others provide new and interesting views into the information compiled in Google's databases.

GAWSH, or the Google API Web Search by Host, provides a simplified approach to navigating the results from a search. It groups the results by web host, presenting the site domain names in order of relevance. Each domain name has a "toggle" arrow next to it which displays or hides the results from that domain name. This application uses a Perl query to retrieve the data and format the results.

The Touch Graph Google Browser is a web site built using the Google API. This site allows you to create graphic maps of Google search results. It uses Google's "similar pages" feature to create a map of the relationships between your starting site and other sites. The Google Browser creates a map based on the domain name that you enter as a starting point. Then you can navigate the site map and explore deeper relationships by clicking on nodes within the map.

A unique site based on the Google API is Googlism. This site lets users know what web writers think about people or things. For example, entering "George W. Bush" returns results like this: george w. bush is a man against the odds,george w. bush is definitely not bill clinton,george w. bush is his father's son,george w. bush is an android.

The results range from nonsense to humor to philosophy, but they capture the spirit of what Internet writers think about the topic.

The Google Web APIs service is freely available to anyone interested in testing out web services. It requires the creation of a user account, and is free for non-commercial use. Google also is offering licenses for those interested in creating commercial services based on its API.