Google said it will restrict unauthorized access to its unpublished autocomplete application program interface (API) as of Aug. 10.
The goal is to keep the user experience as it was designed -- a service closely tied to search -- Peter Chiu, Google product manager, wrote in a blog post.
Chiu explains that for years, several developers have integrated the results of autocomplete within their own services using a non-official, non-published API that had no restrictions on it. Developers who discovered the autocomplete API were then able to incorporate autocomplete for services other than Google Search.
Developers that want to keep an autocomplete feature on their Web sites can do so by signing up for Google's Custom Search Engine.
"Looks like the keyword tools using autocomplete will have to re-invent themselves soon," Tony McCreath, SEO consultant and founder of Web Site Advantage, writes in the comments.
Clint Butler, SEO marketing professional at ArchAngel, believes Google is making a mistake, but admits that the company provides an alternative.
For publishers and developers that want to use the autocomplete service for their site, Google points to an alternative. Google Custom Search Engine allows sites to maintain autocomplete functionality in connection with Search functionality. Any partner already using Google CSE will be unaffected by this change.