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Wednesday, July 16, 2003

Another Interesting Google API Tool

You may already know about Googlealert, which allows you to be notified by e-mail when up to five different keyword searches bring back new results in Google's index. Googlealert employs the fascinating Google Web API, which allows developers to create apps that tap into Google's 3 billion page index.

I recently discovered another clever tool that uses the API. It's called BananaSlug (not sure why, though). This one takes your Google keyword phrase search and throws a random word into your query, which brings back different results than your normal matches.

The idea behind BananaSlug is to promote "serendipitous surfing." Because there are usually so many matches to keyword searches, especially for competitive phrases, you may never stumbe upon a site that is, say, 500 matches deep. So, BananaSlug inserts a random word from a few distinctly chosen categories (such as World Cities, Tarot Major Arcana and Suits, Themes from Shakespeare, A Full Dictionary, etc.) to give you results you wouldn't normally see.

BananaSlug is probably more of a novelty than a truly useful tool, but it's certainly worth playing with. As with any Google API tool, however, it is limited to 1,000 daily queries, so you might not get to use it the way it was intended. After the 1,000 query limit has been exceeded, you have to then click through to the Google site to see your matches.

It would be so nice if Google would open up their API program to commercial development so we can see what developers can really do with it! Who knows, now that the search engine business is heating up, this may be one area where Google can set themselves apart from the pack even more.

Posted by Cory Kleinschmidt




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