10 Best Google APIs to Enhance Your Web App

Roger Winter

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Google offers a huge range of products and services, many of which it makes accessible via application programming interfaces, or APIs.

person using google apis on a computer in an office

Google APIs allow you to interface with popular consumer-facing applications like Maps and Hangouts, as well as tap into the powerful vision, video, and natural language AI capabilities developed by Google.

Developers that take the time to explore and integrate these APIs can enhance their applications with cutting-edge technologies, without needing to fully understand the lower-level details of the machine learning (ML) algorithms that power many of these features.

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In this post, we’ll cover the most essential APIs that google has to offer — all have been built under REST principles, and many also support gRPC. Google’s APIs are well- documented and include example usages (and, in some cases, entire applications). So, let’s dive in.

1. Google Maps Platform

Best for: Bridging the gap between the real world and your applications.

Google Maps APIs enable you to embed maps or even 360-degree street view imagery into your web and mobile applications.

These APIs can also retrieve directions with route optimizations using real-time traffic data, making them suitable for various transportation and logistics industry use cases like ridesharing or delivery.

Furthermore, your apps can retrieve places and points of interest with search, autocomplete, and detailed location information. The Google Maps Platform provides a collection of APIs for everything you need to bring the real world to your program.

To learn how to get started with Google Maps APIs on your app or site, see our intro guide to Google Maps APIs.

2. Vertex AI

Best for: Building, deploying, and scaling ML models.

Google Vertex AI includes tools and features that span the entire lifecycle of ML projects, helping organizations with varying degrees of ML expertise to generate insightful predictions and enhance applications.

Vertex AI includes pre-trained models for vision, video, natural language, and more. Experts can incorporate their existing models built on popular frameworks like TensorFlow and PyTorch.

Teams with minimal ML expertise can leverage AutoML to build, train, compare, and deploy models specific to business needs. AutoML still follows the standard ML workflow: gather data, prepare data, train, evaluate, and deploy. The AutoML UI is there to guide you through the entire process of deploying your model.

You can retrieve your predictions by batch as a sequence of JSON lines or have a customized REST API for handling prediction requests from other applications.

3. Natural Language AI

Best for: Unstructured text analysis and extraction.

The Natural Language AI API provides insights from documents, chats, emails, social media, and more. This API is commonly used to assess customer opinions, feelings, or general attitudes via sentiment analysis and content classification features. It can also identify and extract text segments, such as addresses or identification numbers.

4. Vision AI

Best for: Image analysis.

The Vision AI APIs enable you to analyze images. They enable you to detect objects, printed text, handwritten text, faces, places, and more — along with additional metadata like language, emotion, or geographical information.

These APIs make for cutting-edge user experiences. For example, a customer can search your product catalog for items similar to those worn in an image that they’ve uploaded.

5. Video AI

Best for: Video analysis.

The Google Video AI API is similar to Vision AI APIs. It extracts metadata allowing video content to be indexed, organized, searched, and filtered. This API covers many use cases, including content moderation, content recommendation, and even contextually relevant advertising.

The Video API API can annotate video content with timeframe-specific labels. For instance, it can identify appropriate locations to insert ads in your videos by matching your advertisements with the labels.

6. Text-to-Speech and Speech-to-Text

Best for: Converting text to natural-sounding speech and speech to accurate text.

Google’s Text-to-Speech API features speech synthesis technology that enables developers to convert text into natural-sounding speech. The API supports various languages and voices and allows developers to integrate their applications with lifelike voices.

Conversely, the Speech-to-Text API allows developers to convert audio to text in over 125 languages and variants. It can transcribe speech from various audio sources, including live phone calls and recorded audio and video files. Additionally, it supports both real-time and batch transcription, and also offers several features to improve accuracy —these include speaker identification, profanity filtering, and automatic punctuation.

7. Translation AI

Best for: Internationalizing content and applications.

Like the Text-to-Speech and Speech-to-Text APIs, the Translation AI API offers fast and dynamic translations between hundreds of language pairs. With it, you can globalize your content and applications to reach a wider audience and improve user experiences with low-latency real-time translations.

The translation API also features customized translations for domain-specific and context-specific terms or phrases, increasing translation accuracy.

8. Google Chat

Best for: Building chatbots.

Google Chat APIs give programmatic access to messages, spaces, and attachments. Applications can receive and respond to webhook events such as getting messaged by a user or added to a space.

You can handle events using Google Cloud Functions without managing servers or containers. Build a chatbot to automate or assist with critical business functions on the same platform that your team uses to communicate.

9. Google Cloud APIs

Best for: Automating your cloud workflows.

Google Cloud APIs offer programmatic access to Google Cloud Platform (GCP) services such as computing, storage and database, networking, analytics, operations, security and identity, and more.

These APIs can automate GCP services through scripts and other tools or applications. Spin up and tear down complete cloud infrastructure for tests, demos, and staging environments entirely through code. When your infrastructure is defined by code, it can be versioned, reused, and shared.

10. Google Sheets API

Best for: Managing spreadsheets.

Finally, the Google Sheets API enables you to read, write, and format Google Sheets documents. It can perform almost everything you can do within the Google Sheets UI, which can be a game-changer for automating your processes..

For example, if you’re currently exporting reports as CSV documents, consider using Google Sheets APIs to enhance your reporting. Or, you can apply visually appealing formatting and include charts and graphs alongside the exported data to communicate the reports more effectively.

Harness the power of Google APIs.

Google APIs enable you to tap into Google’s vast data, intelligence, and computing capabilities. They help build better products and services by making advanced technologies accessible to users of all skill levels.

What’s more, many APIs discussed in this article can be combined. For example, you can integrate the Speech-to-Text and Text-to-Speech APIs to build a touch-free customer service experience over the telephone. Use the Vision AI APIs to extract text from photos of receipts, the Natural Language AI APIs to identify the date, store, and individual line items from the text, and finally, the Google Sheets APIs to add them to a spreadsheet.

These are just a couple of examples of the powerful capabilities offered by Google APIs. Whether you’re building a product as a part of a team or working on a personal project over the weekend, the Google APIs provide capable building blocks from which to build next-generation applications and services.

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