Google AJAX API Parameter Added

Google announced that it is adding a new parameter to the RESTful interface, userip for its AJAX APIs, due to abuse. With the new parameter, developers have the option of supplying the IP address of the end-user on whose behalf they are making the API request. Doing this helps Google determine what is legitimate server-sided traffic and what is abusive scraping.

“Over the last several years, you’ve helped make Google’s AJAX APIs incredibly successful,” says Google’s Adam Feldman. “Not surprisingly, however, there are some people who try to take advantage of these free APIs by using them in ways that they were not designed for, abuse which is prohibited by the Terms of Use. Specifically, some servers are making countless requests – requests not made on the behalf of an end-user – in an attempt to scrape data from the APIs.”

Google says use of the new parameter isn’t required, but if it’s not included with server-side requests, those requests are more likely to be interpreted and automatically blocked as abuse. This is particularly true for situations where a server is sending a lot of traffic to the API.

“Additional safeguards you can take include setting a valid HTTP referer (as required by our Terms of Use) and using an API key,” says Feldman. “These additional measures will help us contact you in case there are problems with your website or application (sometimes a programming error results in massive traffic, forcing us to block your access if we are unable to contact you). In choosing to utilize this parameter, please be sure that you’re in compliance with any local laws, including any laws relating to disclosure of personal information being sent.”

Documentation for usage of the new parameter can be found here. Of course Google offers a support forum where problems can be voiced.

By Chris Crum

Chris Crum is a staff writer and content coordinator for iEntry.

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