Google Updates Autocomplete API

The search giant Google has an autocomplete service that tries to predict your search even before you’ve finished with typing. This has become very convenient for users since it already suggests possible queries, which saves time. For businesses, this has been a valuable tool to see what phrases are being searched the most, for their site’s optimization purposes.

For several years, developers that integrated the autocomplete search results into their own services. They do this using a non-published, non-official API with no restrictions. They are then able to incorporate autocomplete searches, independent from Google.

There have been several instances that the reverse-engineering of the developer’s community on Google services has led to great outcomes. For example, the Google Maps API became a formally supported API after seeing what the creative engineers could do when map data and other data sources are combined. Google supports more than 80 APIs that developers use to integrate Google’s services to that of the developer.

However, there are times when using an unsupported API can cause risks that results in the unavailability of the API. This is one of those instances.

Autocomplete was built as a complement to Search. It was never intended to be disconnected from the purpose of anticipating search queries. Over time, Google realized that while they can conceive that uses for an autocomplete data field outside of search results may be valuable, overall the content of their automatic completions are optimized and are intended to be used alongside web search results. Using it outside that context does not provide a valuable user benefit.

Google said that in the interest of maintaining the AutoComplete’s integrity as part of Search, unauthorized access to the unpublished autocomplete API will be restricted as of August 10, 2015. This will ensure that the users will experience autocomplete as it was designed to be used. They believe that this provides a better user experience for both Search and AutoComplete services.

The Internet giant, however, offered an alternative for publishers and developers who still want to use the autocomplete services for their sites. Google Custom Search Engine (CSE) allows sites to maintain the autocomplete functionality in connection with search functionality. If you are already a Google partner that is already using Google CSE, you will not be affected by this change. But if not, and you want the autocomplete functionality on your site after the roll out date, you need sign up for it.

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