Google Stops Supporting Search API

The O'Reilly Radar picked up on an internal conversation I was involved with about Google's decision to stop supporting their Search API. There's more at the Radar: Google Deprecates Their SOAP Search API.

I can't help but think of the lawyerly phrase arbitrary and capricious to describe the decision because no one from Google has explained the move in a public forum. I'm sure there were some black hat SEO types using the Search API for nefarious purposes—and I'm guessing the decision to shut it down stems in part from that. (Not to mention that SOAP has fallen out of favor.) But that's like throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Why such a limited alternative? (The API has been "replaced" by the Ajax API, a very limited cousin of the Search API.) And why not move to a REST API if that's where the developer preference winds have blown? In one of my emails I mentioned that this decision reminds me of Microsoft's decision to scrap their MVP program (which was later reinstated). Why alienate future potential power users?

Also, the new Hackzine blog picked up a tip I stumbled on for grabbing an API Key while the grabbing is good: Get a Google SOAP API Key.

Update: Slashdot weighs in. For them it's all about the failure of SOAP, not a misstep by Google.