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Google to Restrict Access to Autocomplete API – What This Means for Keyword Research Tools

Access to the autocomplete API is set to be restricted as of today, 10 August 2015, according to an official post on the Google Webmaster Central Blog. From now on users who wish to continue to have autocomplete functionality on their site are being guided towards Google Custom Search Engine. Meanwhile, for keyword research tools, this decision by Google could effectively strip them of their key data source.

Google Restric Access to Autocomplete API

Preventing negative reverse-engineering – autocomplete only intended for user functionality

Google autocomplete tries to predict a user’s query as they type. According to Google, services have been able to integrate autocomplete API results in non-Google contexts.
autocomplete small


Keyword research tools in particular have, according to the search engine, taken advantage of this non-official, non-published API to integrate results into their keyword suggestions. However, Google has now described this usage as unauthorized. Google states that:

“Over time we’ve realized that while we can conceive of uses for an autocomplete data feed outside of search results that may be valuable, overall the content of our automatic completions are optimized and intended to be used in conjunction with web search results, and outside of the context of a web search don’t provide a meaningful user benefit.”

Keyword tools could lose their primary data source

No longer having access to this API will mean that these tools will have to adjust how they provide keyword suggestions for their users. Presumably these services will have a back catalogue of data that they will be able to use, but the salient point is that from today this data will become static, and by definition historical.
For such providers this implies that the effect of the autocomplete shutdown will be felt more over time, because without access to new data, drawing on a back catalogue will not accurately reflect current keyword trends.

Searchmetrics remains unaffected – the power of the independent database

Services that provide keyword research independently of the API will more than likely welcome this decision. Building up an independent database is costly and time consuming. Nevertheless, it is a paramount part of serious data analysis and is a core value at Searchmetrics.  With our computer linguistic experts and many years of experience in n-gram analysis from the billions of documents we regularly crawl, we have built a solid foundation for our detailed keyword research. This means that Searchmetrics and our users’ ability to carry out detailed keyword research remains untouched.

What are your opinions of the autocomplete API shutdown? Please let us know in the comments…

Tom Wells

Tom Wells

Tom is a creative marketing expert focusing on emerging technology, SEO and AI. He is fascinated by telling stories with data and works with some of the leading names in the tech world. To deepen his understanding of machine learning and AI, he is currently pursuing a Master’s in Data Analytics from Georgia Tech.

7 thoughts on “Google to Restrict Access to Autocomplete API – What This Means for Keyword Research Tools

  • Have a look at – they are using an other data source with excellent results!

  • Hi Michael, thanks for your comment. Do you have any more detailed information on how this tool obtains its data?

  • Hello Michael, is paid tool and i think small business owner might not able to purchase it. I like to refer to get best resource of keywords data.


  • I believe Michael’s statement to be incorrect. It states clearly on the homepage that it uses Google autocomplete to produce its results. This is something that we use and are monitoring result changes. It will be very interesting to see how these tools react and whether they can continue to provide accurate suggestions of relevant terms.

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