first_page Drops Google™ Search Technology for Yahoo!™

Since 2005, Songhay System, that’s me, experimented with turning the SOAP-based search API from Google™ into a REST-based service. The goal was to deliver external data to a PHP web site or to an AJaX client. Both PHP and AJaX realms do not easily hook into SOAP services. And, yes, I have tried nusoap.

Although, I commend the Atlas Team at Microsoft for pulling off AJaX-to-SOAP calls, somehow I still am not interested in using SOAP for this scenario. Today, I do not see a need to have a remote client reach across the Internet into any number of “web methods” on a server. I remain looking at sending a message from the remote client to a generic message receiver on the server—the server then calls any number of server methods and returns another message. Both SOAP and REST are message based—however REST-based designs seems ‘honest’ about this while SOAP designs ‘hide’ this from the developer with an extra-crispy layer of abstraction. The SOAP acronym used to stand for Simple Object Access Protocol—where object access implies that you need to access objects across the wire instead of simply needing to send/receive messages to/from clearly defined locations. I daresay that SOAP takes object orientation too far but, then again, I don’t work for SAP.

It took way too long for me to discover that Yahoo! was working on a RESTafarian search API. In the mean time, I set up an ASP.NET Web service to call out to Google with SOAP and then bucket-brigade the results off to PHP as a REST set. This solution turned out to be very slow and hard to maintain with low-cost, shared hosting services. For example, considers a SOAP call, via proxy, a security hole when your site is configured for ASP.NET 2.0. This meant that I had to set up an ASP.NET 1.1 site in order to get it to work. Aaarrrrgh! was not allowing me to web.config my way out of this problem and their tech support was very strongly unconcerned with this “advanced” technical issue. Now that Yahoo! has come to the rescue, I can drop hosting services and, consequently, Google’s SOAP-based technology.

I have never really understood why Google provides a SOAP-based search solution exclusively. It seems very uncharacteristic for a company celebrated for its bare-bones approach to design. It also seems strange for a company with so much stock value: certainly the Google people are wealthy enough to produce search for SOAP and REST. What’s the big deal? Perhaps they have quietly abandoned any further development in opening up search? Is there some hidden conflict of interest here?

Test the new search by Yahoo!