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I am trying to write a function that, starting from a string, returns the Google search hits on that string (the format and other stuff, I still have to decide).

I have looked around and have found nothing that works (the wsdl-thing for Google search referenced by the docs, with WebServices, is retired and returns 404).

Any hints, except scraping the result page by hand?

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Have a look at this answer. Presumably, Google expects you to switch to a newer API. –  Leonid Shifrin Mar 2 '13 at 23:18
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Take a look at this answer. You can use the same approach I show there, but that's a deprecated API as well. It works now, but it won't keep working for long. –  Szabolcs Mar 2 '13 at 23:27
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up vote 5 down vote accepted

After looking better into the comment by Szabolcs, I have chosen this path (which I did try for images, but it didn't cross my mind to use it for web):

result = Import[ "https://ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/services/search/web?v=1.0&q=furry%20beasts", "JSON"]

and then

"url" /. ("results" /. ("responseData" /. result))

to get the links to the pages. Or, to get the "preview" of the pages:

"content" /. ("results" /. ("responseData" /. result))

It works like a charm even if it is unsupported and bound to break at some point.

For reference: https://developers.google.com/web-search/docs/

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I would advise setting the User agent string if you do this. –  Liam William Nov 24 '13 at 4:20
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