Real-Time Search Engine Collecta Gets an API

Real-time search engine Collecta, which I covered last July, has announced recently that it’s launching a new API. Since I’m still mourning the Google’s SOAP API, which died this month, I went over to take a look at it.

The API documentation is available at It looks kind of like some of the New York Times API and the Amazon product information API before all that authentication became required. You make an HTTP GET request to a certain URL and get the results back in ATOM format. The query language is very simple — default AND, operators for excluding words and specifying phrases, and one special syntax for category.

A key is required for using the API, and there is a limit on use, but it’s pretty generous — at the moment it’s 250 HTTP requests per hour per key. (You can also ask for the limit to be waived/raised.) There is at this writing no fee to use the API or to get a key.

If you want to see how the API’s being put to use, there are a couple of applications in the API Gallery. One of them tracks information from the Python community around the Web, and another one tracks mentions of President Obama. If you look at these and think you can do better, you might want to check out the Collecta Real-Time Search API Challenge — from now through October 8, Collecta is having a contest to find the best (most useful/creative/etc) use of its API. There will be winners of Collecta schwag but the first price is a Macbook Pro.

Carry on coding. Or at least RESTing up some nifty query URLs….

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