If you go to the Google SOAP Search API page, you'll now see the following message:

As of December 5, 2006, we are no longer issuing new API keys for the SOAP Search API. Developers with existing SOAP Search API keys will not be affected.

Depending on your application, the AJAX Search API may be a better choice for you instead. It tends to be better suited for search-based web applications and supports additional features like Video, News, Maps, and Blog search results.

I remember taking a look at their AJAX Search API a while ago, and while it was definitely more newbie-friendly (you just copy/paste a JavaScript snippet into your blog template), I felt that it lacked the flexibility and customizability of the SOAP API. Things might have changed now, although initial reports that I've seen on the web indicate otherwise.

Google claims that it will not shut down the SOAP API for existing users, but that it is also no longer supported. The question now on everyone's minds is - how long will the SOAP API actually continue to work? I've already started noticing some flakiness - HTTP 502 errors appear intermittently when I run search queries through this blog. Since the SOAP API is now deprecated and unsupported, I wonder if such issues, and any others that might crop up in the future will ever be fixed.

So I'm considering three options now. The first is to stick to the Google SOAP API until it eventually dies, but I'm not sure how prudent this is. The second is to take another look at Google's AJAX Search API as per their suggestion to see if it's more flexible now, and a good fit for my purpose. And the third is to move to Microsoft's Live Search API, which is still a SOAP API. Some of you might remember that I was using this before I switched to Google's API, so it shouldn't be very difficult to go back.

If you're using the Google SOAP Search API, I'd love to know what your plan of action is.

Update: I've posted a follow-up on this topic.