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Google founder embraces Web services

Sergey Brin, co-founder and president of technology at search engine Google, has cited innovation based on Web services as the means to drive the next set of search inventions and improve upon existing services.

Speaking at the InfoWorld Next-Generation Web services II: The Applications conference in California, Brin said: " Web services give us a lot of promise in terms of enabling communication by means of speeding up communications and creating new services."

In its early days, Google offered a creative answer to the complex problem of finding data on the Web by marrying two disparate disciplines: data mining and Web content, Brin said. The technology's ability to locate patterns and trends in Web data combined with page ranking algorithms proved a successful way to navigate Web data and return accurate results.

Going forward, Google is pushing innovation based on Web services, Brin said.

In April, Google released a Web API service designed to allow developers to query more than 2 billion Web documents accessible from the Google search engine via their own computer programs.

Currently in beta, the free service uses Soap over HTTP and WSDL, and allows developers to program in languages such as Java, Perl, .net, and Visual Studio. The service lets developers incorporate Google's search, spell check, monitoring, and research capabilities into their own applications, according to Brin.

Tapping Web services, the Web APIs allow others to build innovative applications on top of the Google search engine, Brin said.

"The best way is to let other people [innovate] for us. With Google APIs anyone can build an application using Google search or spell correction. Instead of the hundreds of engineers [working at Google], there are millions that can develop new services using Google infrastructure," Brin said.

To further its Web API effort, Google is also developing a program that will provide support for users trying to launch their Google-based Web services commercially, Brin said.

"[It is] very simple, and never before has it been this easy to access such a wide variety of services," he said.

As Web services take off, it won't necessarily create whole new streams of revenue for companies, but will bolster existing money-making models by making existing services easier to use and companies easier to partner with, Brin said.

According to one analyst, the marriage of search and Web services will be particularly important because searches can be broadly applied across different applications and different business processes.

Unlike something like content management, where there are concrete approval, publish, and check-in processes, "there is not a single business process that is search," said Laura Ramos, director at Giga Information Group. "Search runs across all business processes," she said

Having search as a service, or as a component of an application, allows different applications and sets of users to share or access the search capability. "[Web services] is an important architectural direction that search engine providers are looking at," Ramos said.
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