I’ve fixed a bug with ObSrv that was causing empty image feeds to appear.
There is a long term problem that we need to address, and I need your help to sort it out.
The problem is that Google is limiting the number of image searches that ObSrv can do to 100 per day. The problem is that once we exceed this limit, no images are returned and you get a blank feed.
I’ve temporarily fixed this problem by changing the image search provider. I’m not saying which, as I don’t want to cause any more waves.
But eventually they’ll start blocking excessive image searches as well.
So I’m considering changing ObSrv to require you to supply a Google API key. It won’t be hard to do. All yu need to do is go to the Google Code API console, log in (or create an account) and request an API key.
Future versions of ObSrv will require you to enter that API key as part of the Feed URL.
For now, you don’t need to do anything. Everything should be working perfectly. Your images should come through as expected.
I’m just alerting you to what may have to happen, and I’d like your feedback please.
You once might have had a feed URL that was something like: http://obsrv.com/General/ImageFeed.aspx?mountain+wallpaper
But I’m suggesting we change that to something like: http://obsrv.com/General/ImageFeed.aspx?mountain+wallpaper&APIKEY=[your API KEY]
This way, any ObSrv feed requests will be linked to your API KEY and not mine. And (provided you don’t go over 100 requests per day) Google won’t hassle you. This shouldn’t be a problem. Image feeds don’t update that often. Even if you refreshed the feed every hour you’d be able to have four separate feeds and stay under the limit.
If you exceed Google’s limit, they’ll probably want you to open up a commercial account with them and pay them something. This has nothing to do with me. I’m not asking for your money – I’m just explaining how Google deals with people who use their resources in an unusual way.
Please leave a comment, or email me, and let me know your thoughts.
The challenge we face is that Search Engines are a moving target. Writing a web service like ObSrv that keeps up with this target is difficult, but not impossible.