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ComputerWire: IT Industry Intelligence

Google Inc is to offer its leading web search engine to developers using standard web services APIs, it emerged this week. Under a beta test launched without fanfare last week, the company is offering access to its index on a free trial basis, with the possibility of a commercial launch in future.

The company said the service, called Web APIs, makes regular Google features available via SOAP interfaces for integration in non-commercial applications. Developers that sign up get a license key that gives them 1,000 queries against the two billion document index per day for free.

Google said possible applications that could be developed include conducting regular searches on a subject to check for new information, statistical research, and any other application that uses a non-HTML interface. The company even suggested games built around web information could be created.

Naturally, the service is not open to competitors, and users are restricted to one personal account. The company said it has no current plans to start charging service fees for expanded or commercial use, though such a move seems likely if the beta is well received.

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