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Integrating the Google Web Service Into ASP.NET

Google now offers the functionality of its search engine through a Web service that offers additional search accessories and interfaces for both personal and commercial use. Learn how to incorporate Google's search power into your own applications.


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ccording to the Neilson NetRatings of January 2003, Google is rated as the top search engine on the Web with a 29.5% share of the market followed by Yahoo and MSN. In addition to an extremely robust standard search service, Google offers searches in various categories including images, groups, directory, and news. If you're not already familiar with Google, it is located at www.google.com/ and is commonly known for its creative display logos. Figure 1 shows the Google home page.
 
Figure 1. The Google home page.
One extremely popular accessory that Google developed to extend its search capabilities is the Google toolbar (see Figure 2). The Google toolbar is designed to work with Microsoft Internet Explorer 5 or higher and makes most of the Google functionality available directly in the browser regardless of the current page being displayed. The Google toolbar also includes a built in popup killer. For more information on the Google Toolbar and other accessories, visit http://www.google.com/options/.

 
Figure 2. The Google Toolbar in Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.
Web Services
Traditionally, applications were processed over the Web via HTML pages that users interacted with. A Web service is an application that does not have a visual interface for users to interact with. Instead, Web services are designed for other applications to interact with programmatically. A Web service is a component that interfaces with other applications, devices, and clients through standardized, non-proprietary, and uniform protocols. A Web service resides on a Web server and, as such, you can code a Web service using many different technologies including all of the .NET compliant languages as well as Java. At a high level, the protocols and technologies utilized by a Web service include the Web services Description Language (WSDL), Web services Discovery documents (DISCO), Universal Description, Discovery, and Integration (UDDI), and Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP). These technologies are all created using standardized XML grammars.

WSDL documents describe a Web service, the methods available to be called, and the protocols that the Web service supports. DISCO documents describe where the Web service is located.



UDDI is the online catalog of Web services that are available for use and consumption. SOAP is the protocol that is used to pass data back and forth between applications and Web services.

You'll find the UDDI directory located at http://www.uddi.org/. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) governs the remainder of the technologies listed above. Google Web Service API

Using the beta version of the Google Web service API, the service will return only 10 results per search processed although the estimated total number of results may be greater than 10.
Currently the Google Web service application programming interface (API) is in its beta testing period, hence support for using the API is limited. However, Google has fully documented the Google Web service API online. You can also get minimal technical support via email at api-support@google.com . You'll find answers to many questions in the discussion group at google.public.web-apis.

Beta Terms and Limitations
Let me make you aware of a few additional notes regarding the use of the Google Web service API due to it being in beta. The service will return only 10 results per search processed although the estimated total number of results may be greater than 10. Also, with a developer license you can make a maximum of only 1,000 searches per day. Google is also adamant that you can use the Web service API only for personal use.



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