Google Web Elements and Google's Iceberg Strategy (Google I/O)

At Google I/O this morning, DeWitt Clinton announed Google Web Elements, a new simple interface layer to Google Ajax APIs. The goal is to make bringing Google features to other sites as easy as cut and paste. And indeed, the cut and paste functionality is impressive: Add news, custom search, conversations, maps and more to your site with only a few clicks. If the earlier HTML 5 announcements were for developers, these announcements are for everyone else. Any blogger can easily incorporate Google services.

No need to show this via screen shots. I can easily embed live widgets.

Here’s a News widget, searching for news on Google I/O:
There are two standard sizes, the one shown to the right (350×250), and one in “leaderboard” size (728×90). It would be nice to see user-configurable sizes. Though you can edit the provided HTML, Google does not do automatic size detection.

You can also embed Google docs, spreadsheets, and presentations. (Of course, you can do the same with slideshare and scribd – embedding is the new black.)

The search widget is shown below. It automatically knows to search the site it’s placed on. No configuration needed. If you’re an Adsense for search customer, you can include advertising. The widget below is live. Type in Google I/O to search for posts relating to Google I/O.


google.load(‘search’, ‘1’);
var cse = new;
}, true);

The search widget has been available before, but it’s got some new features, as shown in a before-and-after example in the image below. On the left is the previous incarnation. On the right, the new version uses AJAX tabs for improved performance, as well as featuring new kinds of ad elements. And of course, search results can be styled to your site with CSS.


Here’s a “conversation element” – you can comment right here on the page rather than in the normal comments. And as a special bonus, I’m told that if you comment in another language, Google’s automatic machine translation comes into play.

Elements like these embedded on other pages around the web are the underwater portion of what you might call Google’s iceberg strategy: a great deal of their usage is not on their own site, and so not measured by Comscore and others who measure search market share. In his keynote, Vic Gundotra mentioned that Google is now supporting more than 4 BILLION API calls daily across more than 60 different APIs.

A backchannel conversation with one attendee suggests that search API traffic alone might well be larger than the next biggest search destination on the web. Another tidbit from the backchannel: the aforementioned Google language translation API is a sleeper hit, used worldwide for translation of user generated content.