Google courts developers

Valentine’s Day is months away, but Google Inc. displayed its ardor for developers by delivering to them this month a programming equivalent of a box of chocolates and a dozen red roses.

With several new and upgraded programming tools, Google continued its courtship of external developers, a group it considers key for the successful adoption of its online services.

Despite its size and might, Google believes that it benefits greatly from allowing programmers that aren’t on its staff to build Web applications that use Google services and data.

These external coders often come up with applications, plug-ins and Web sites that extend and enhance Google services in ways that Google staffers don’t think of.

Other large Internet companies that woo external programmers with incentives and tools include Yahoo Inc., Inc. and eBay Inc..

This month, Google upgraded its AJAX Search API (application programming interface), designed to simplify adding a search box to a site and displaying results without taking users to a separate page. The API also allows the creation of applications that use Google search functions.

Google also created a new utility that automatically feeds inventory data to Google Base from stores hosted by, eBay and Yahoo on their respective e-commerce platforms.

This new Store Connector is designed to save online store developers from manually entering their product listings into Google Base. Products listed on Google Base can appear in search results, with a link to the store selling them.

Another overture toward external developers this month was the release of almost 1,300 ‘gadget’ mini-applications for use in non-Google Web sites. In addition to benefiting site publishers, the wider availability of these gadgets will provide more exposure for external developers who have created them.

Finally, Google unveiled a new search engine intended to simplify the often tedious and time-consuming task of finding source code online. Unlike the Web search engine, this one, at, crawls deeply into program files and returns snippets from lines of code with links to the file they belong to.

Eric Bessette, a Web developer for a large game company, plans to use the search API in a current project and foresees doing future projects with the Google gadgets.

“I’m quite impressed with what Google has offered the development community so far, and I’m eagerly awaiting future offers,” he wrote in an e-mail interview.

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