Interactivity is what today's best websites are all about.
Dull, static websites used to be enough to lure in your customers and deliver decent results. But modern web surfers require more – and if your company's online assets can't give them the interactive experience they crave, they'll simply move on to a website that can.
The problem with interactivity is that it can be expensive. Customizing your business website with cool, interactive features traditionally meant hiring a web designer who has the juice to enhance your online profile without making your site so thick with code that it's unmanageable. Ever the problem solver, Google rolled out something called Google AJAX APIs to bridge the gap between the need for interactive experiences and the technical capacity of the average computer user.
AJAX (Asynchronous Java script and XML) APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) are a group of connected web development techniques and tools that you can use to create interactive web applications, or apps. To access these tools, you'll need to get a Google API Key that lets you insert APIs into your website. All it takes to get a Google API Key is a Google account and agreement with Google's use limitations. Once you have it, here a few of the AJAX APIs you can insert into a single domain.
- Google Maps API. The Maps API gives you the ability to insert the full range of Google maps into your site – including Google Earth. Viewers can use these maps to locate your business or view your real estate before they visit.
- Google Search API. Search features are what Google is known for. The Search API embeds a simple, dynamic search box into your site and displays results on your own page instead of directing users to the Google site. Businesses can use this for web search, local (geographic) search and multimedia search features.
- Google Virtualization API. The Virtualization API enables the inclusion of visuals that aggregate data from a range of sources. Chart tools generate graphic representations of information based on data sources that can be updated in real time.
- Google Language API. If your business deals with international clients, the Language API might be a great fit for your site. It translates and detects languages for blocks of text within a web page and interprets on-the-fly.
- Google Friend Connect API. The Friend Connect API brings interactive social media connectivity to your website. It integrates existing login systems, registered users and data with new social data and activities.