Google Shopping API Finally Adds Shipping and Tax Information
When the new Google API for Shopping was announced, things looked hopeful to bring further organization to the all-encompassing, yet chaotic, Google Base API. When the final phasing out notice came, there still wasn’t a tremendous amount of adoption or support for the new replacement Shopping APIs. In June 2011, the Google Base API was fully depreciated by Google, many developers were left without a viable alternative.
With the 2500 / day query limit, the API’s real-world usefulness is limited, and features are still missing from what was in the original Google Base API. Note that the Google Base API had unlimited calls, with restrictions on 2 per second per IP address.
One issue above all was that the Tax and Shipping information was no longer included in the API results. It was the first issue reported, back in January. Today, after roughly a quarter of the Group’s members reported they wanted the feature back, it was finally addressed and fixed. It has been exactly 9 months since the issue was first raised to the Google’s Shopping API Group. It may have taken so long because of the requirement for Merchants to include Tax and Shipping deadline was the 1st of September, but who really knows.
This is an essential enhancement, and congrats to the Google API team for getting it done. That being said, in general, the Google API support team has been moving at a snails pace in taking on any issues addressed by public developers, and generally seem to have their own agenda. With what could be the most powerful Shopping search API available, Google is either holding back intentionally or not committing enough resources.
Hopefully this enhancement is a sign that things are moving in the right direction, and as Google continues to enforce stricter datafeed policies on the Merchants’ end, perhaps these changes will translate into a more robust API for developers. In the mean time, continue to look elsewhere for Shopping Search APIs from price comparison sites like Shopping.com, ShopZilla, or PriceGrabber who have viable and tested API offerings for production-level applications.