As of December 5th 2006 Google stopped issuing API keys for their SOAP search API.

They appear to want to move people to their ajax service which provides much less freedom for the client to process and manipulate the data (in fact it appears it is very hard to get at the data any more — rather similar to the google maps api which just allows you to render over layers provided by google not to actually extract the underlying geodata). As one user commented:

I read the shift as being one that discourages the development of any
server based value add over google search and encourages the
development of browser based value add to google search.

To me this is a severe restriction on the types of value one can build
– but then maybe that is the intent here – google wants less
competition …

This seems to be a perfect confirmation of all of the problems of ‘open’ apis that were discussed on okfn-discuss (initial thread and the follow-on after the reply from Kragen Sitaker ) and were documented in:

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Rufus Pollock is Founder and President of Open Knowledge.