Farewell, old Google Books APIs

Posted on Fri 27 May 2011 in misc

Since the announcement of the new v1 Google Books API, I've been doing a bit of work with it in Python (following up on my part of the conversation). Today, Google announced that many of their older APIs were now officially deprecated. Included in that list are the Google Books Data API and the Google Books JavaScript API. These APIs will be retired as of December 1, 2011. (Thanks to jgeerdes in the #googleapis IRC channel for the heads up today).

There already has been some outrage expressed over the switch to new APIs; five months is not a lot of time to shift gears if you've built a significant architecture on top of the old APIs. But I have some sympathy for Google, in this case; the new "Discovery" APIs are based on a common, consistent architecture that will be easier for them to document, maintain, manage, and ... monetize, of course. (Good time for full disclosure, I suppose: I am a Google stockholder.)

So far, the only major concern I have with the new v1 Google Books API is one missing function that was available in the Data API: the ability to do a full-text search of a custom bookshelf. Accordingly, I've filed a bug in the AJAX APIs issue tracker. Here's hoping that the deprecation of the old APIs enables Google to focus on their anointed APIs on all fronts: documentation, features, and support. Bug 587 should be a good testcase.