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(Edit: it appears the documentation is still available. some sources erroneous reported that it was pulled - or else it was quickly put back...)
They are suggesting the use of the AJAX Search API. However, that appears to be a leopard of different spots.
Reaction at O'Reilly and Slashdot:
O'Reilly in particular laments the loss given that the Google Search API is the "cannonical SOAP example". Google just obsoleted a whole bunch of O'Reilly books...
Google is proving that when they say Beta, they MEAN Beta. Even when a Beta runs for an extended period of time. Beware of depending on Google Beta features!
(But doesn't this go beyond the definition of "Beta"? My understanding has always been that "Beta" software is software that is undergoing extended user testing prior to final release. Google seems now to be treating Beta software as a sandbox. A rug that they can feel free to pull at a momemt's notice.)
Better yet, beware of depending on Google.
On December 5th, we stopped accepting new sign-ups for the Google SOAP Search API. This change does not impact current users of the SOAP Search API -- you can continue to execute queries, and we have no plans to turn off the service in the future....
...While the AJAX Search API does not provide server-side access to search results, it has a number of more powerful features, including access to Video, Maps, Blog Search, and News search results.
it looks like Google doesn't plan to discontinue their API entirely for the time being.
They stopped issuing API keys, which is a huge issue for services like the one I offer, because the user has to provide their own API key. They've discontinued support and simply haven't turned the power off yet, so it's basically over.