Google Debuts AdWords Programming Interface

Jeff Berg
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — After weeks of speculation, search engine giant Google has released an application program interface for its PPC AdWords service.

The new API will allow developers to create applications that directly interact with the online advertising service.

“The AdWords API beta program is an open invitation to developers to explore new concepts and write great software for managing Google AdWords advertising campaigns,” said product manager Josh McFarland and software engineer Nelson Minar.

APIs, while not explicitly delivering new features or functionality to existing programs, act as interfaces through which software developers can easily allow different applications to interact with each other.

According to the company, the API, currently released in beta, could be used for a variety of purposes, including generating automatic keywords, ad texts, URL, and custom reports, as well as integrating AdWords data with databases.

“Large advertisers can use it for their complex ad management needs, like tying product margins to optimized keyword bids,” said McFarland. “These parties can use the API to build new interfaces to manage their client accounts.”

Currently, the API uses both the SOAP and WSDL web service technologies, which support a variety of different programming languages, including Java, .NET, Perl and PHP and is XML compatible.

McFarland said that the new offering is an extension of the Google belief that it should give users the tools to build solutions to their own problems.

“An API enables the creation of all sorts of unanticipated ideas,” McFarland said. “In our experience, it’s better to wear the ‘not invented here’ [sign] as a badge of honor than as a chip on your shoulder.”

The introduction of the AdWords API brings Google again into competition with Yahoo’s Overture advertising service, which has offered an API for several years.

Google’s API is currently free, but users are assigned a usage quota based upon their accounts.