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What does the Google API mean for regular folks?

Friday, April 12, 2002 by Dave Winer.

Dan's question Permalink to Dan's question

Dan Gillmor asks in an email: "For regular folks who use the Web, why is the Google API so exciting? Or is this just something that will give programmers the shivers?"

Dan, this is an important question, and the answer right now is we don't know. Certainly there's not a huge amount of juice for users immediately -- but scripting interfaces for search engines is a science that's only existed in public for about 24 hours. It's a little early to judge its impact.

An example from Web history. When the <table> element came out for HTML in 1995, it barely raised a blip for users, but within weeks, many websites had improved layout. Users noticed this, although very few had an idea why the Web experience had improved.

We hope the Google API will evolve at Internet speed, and that it can become two-way, and thereby make search engines more current and more useful. We hope that other search engine vendors will adopt the Google API, and participate in its development. Now that everyone knows that professional developers and hobbyists like this stuff, it's a good way to get people who create software interested in what you do.

So the fun is just starting. Google's API may not be a scientific breakthrough like penicillin or cold fusion, but it might be a step on the road to something as big as SMTP or POP, or even HTTP and HTML. That's pretty big stuff.

Dave Winer

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