Enhancing Your Site with Google

One of the hard things to do in web development is create useful features – and if you come up with a useful feature, securing the code for that feature. Luckily, Google Code provides a lot of APIs that you can use to increase the features on your site.

One of the more popular Google API is Google AJAX Search.  This API allows you to use Google’s search engine on your site.

Google Maps has become a very central part in most people’s online experience, from getting directions to virtually driving down the street with StreetView.   One great way that developers have used Google Maps API is with GeoIP.  GeoIP is another API which can return to the developer information about the user’s location based on their IP address.  This information can be the name of the country they are in, or even the city they are in.   So naturally, developers started using GeoIP, and Google Maps to show users maps of the area around them.  An example of this combination can be seen at GetIP.com where the developer uses the user’s IP address to show a map via Google Maps of their city.  There also the more advanced Google Earth which allows a more advance view.

You can use Google’s Language API to translate your site for you also.  This can allow you to reach more users and build a broader base of users.  This is very helpful also if you don’t speak other languages which you have to develop for.

Recently, Google added Friend Connecthis is an API that is directed at social aspect of the web,  allowing users to use either their Google, Yahoo, AIM, or OpenID accounts to log into multiple sites. This also allows web developers to be able to fight spam on blogs and forums, since they can now use any of the other accounts as a way for users to post on their site.

Adding API’s can really enhance your site, and make the site more beneficial for the user.   As with most other things in life, use API’s in moderation.  Too much, of even a good thing, can cause a bad experience.  Don’t just put API’s on your site just because you can.  Make for sure that if you do add an API, that it is to enhance your site.   Don’t add Google Map API to a forum, unless you have a good reason for doing so, like if there is a location field for the user to fill out.

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