Programming the Google Web API with Python

screenshot moderate.gifscreenshot tip57.gif

Programming the Google Web API with Python is simple and clean, as these scripts and interactive examples demonstrate.


Programming to the Google Web API from Python is a piece of cake, thanks to Mark Pilgrim's PyGoogle wrapper module (http://diveintomark.org/projects/pygoogle/). PyGoogle abstracts away much of the underlying SOAP, XML, and request/response layers, leaving you free to spend your time with the data itself.

PyGoogle Installation

Download a copy of PyGoogle and follow the installation instructions (http://diveintomark.org/projects/pygoogle/readme.txt). Assuming all goes to plan, this should be nothing more complex than:

% python setup.py install

Alternately, if you want to give this a whirl without installing PyGoogle or don't have permissions to install it globally on your system, simply put the included SOAP.py and google.py files into the same directory as the googly.py script itself.

The Code

#!/usr/bin/python
# googly.py
# A typical Google Web API Python script using Mark Pilgrim's
# PyGoogle Google Web API wrapper 
# [http://diveintomark.org/projects/pygoogle/]
# Usage: python googly.py «query»
import sys, string, codecs
# Use the PyGoogle module import google
# Grab the query from the command-line if sys.argv[1:]:
 query = sys.argv[1]
else:
 sys.exit('Usage: python googly.py «query»')
# Your Google API developer's key google.LICENSE_KEY = 'insert key here'
# Query Google data = google.doGoogleSearch(query)
# Teach standard output to deal with utf-8 encoding in the results sys.stdout = codecs.lookup('utf-8')[-1](sys.stdout)
# Output for result in data.results:
 print string.join( (result.title, result.URL, result.snippet), "\n"), "\n"

Running the Tip

Invoke the script on the command line as follows:

% python googly.py "query words"

The Results

% python googly.py "learning python"
oracle.com -- Online Catalog: «b»Learning«/b» 
«b»Python«/b»
http://www.oracle.com/catalog/lpython/
«b»Learning«/b» «b»Python«/b» is an 
introduction to the increasingly popular interpreted programming language that's portable, powerful, and remarkably easy to use in both 
«b»...«/b» 
...
Tutorial Review: «b»Learning«/b» «b»Python«/b»
http://www2.linuxjournal.com/lj-issues/issue66/3541.html
«b»...«/b» Issue 66: Tutorial Review: «b»Learning«/b» 
«b»Python«/b» «b»...«/b» Enter 
«b»Learning«/b» «b»Python«/b». My executive summary 
is that this is the right tutorial for me and probably for many others 
as well. «b»...«/b» 

Tiping the Tip

Python has a marvelous interface for working interactively with the interpreter. It's a good place to experiment with modules such as PyGoogle, querying the Google API on the fly and digging through the data structures it returns.

Here's a sample interactive PyGoogle session demonstrating use of the doGoogleSearch, doGetCachedPage, and doSpellingSuggestion functions.


% python
Python 2.2 (#1, 07/14/02, 23:25:09) 
[GCC Apple cpp-precomp 6.14] on darwin Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.
»»» import google
»»» google.LICENSE_KEY = 'insert key here'
»»» data = google.doGoogleSearch("Learning Python")
»»» dir(data.meta)
['_ _doc_ _', '_ _init_ _', '_ _module_ _', 'directoryCategories', 
'documentFiltering', 'endIndex', 'estimateIsExact', 
'estimatedTotalResultsCount', 'searchComments', 'searchQuery', 
'searchTime', 'searchTips', 'startIndex']
»»» data.meta.estimatedTotalResultsCount
115000
»»» data.meta.directoryCategories
[{u'specialEncoding': '', u'fullViewableName': "Top/Business/Industries/
Publishing/Publishers/Nonfiction/Business/O'Reilly_and_Associates/
Technical_Tutorials/Python"}]
»»» dir(data.results[5])
['URL', '_ _doc_ _', '_ _init_ _', '_ _module_ _', 'cachedSize', 
'directoryCategory', 'directoryTitle', 'hostName', 
'relatedInformationPresent', 'snippet', 'summary', 'title']
»»» data.results[0].title
'oracle.com -- Online Catalog: «b»Learning«/b» «b»Python'
»»» data.results[0].URL
'http://www.oracle.com/catalog/lpython/'
»»» google.doGetCachedPage(data.results[0].URL)
'«meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=ISO-8859-1"»\n
«BASE rel="nofollow" HREF="http://www.oracle.com/catalog/lpython/"»«table border=1
...
»»» google.doSpellingSuggestion('lurn piethon')
'learn python'