DBD::Google - Treat Google as a datasource for DBI


  use DBI;

  my $dbh = DBI->connect("dbi:Google:", $KEY);
  my $sth = $dbh->prepare(qq[
      SELECT title, URL FROM google WHERE q = "perl"

  while (my $r = $sth->fetchrow_hashref) {


DBD::Google allows you to use Google as a datasource; Google can be queried using SQL SELECT statements, and iterated over using standard DBI conventions.

WARNING: This is still alpha-quality software. It works for me, but that doesn't really mean anything.


For general queries, what better source of information is there than Google?


For the most part, use DBD::Google like you use any other DBD, except instead of going through the trouble of building and installing (or buying!) database software, and employing a DBA to manage your data, you can take advantage of Google's ability to do this for you. Think of it as outsourcing your DBA, if you like.

Connection Information

The connection string should look like: dbi:Google: (DBI requires the trailing :).

Your Google API key should be specified in the username portion (the password is currently ignored; do whatever you want with it, but be warned that I might put that field to use some day):

  my $dbh = DBI->connect("dbi:Google:", "my key", undef, \%opts);

Alternatively, you can specify a filename in the user portion; the first line of that file will be treated as the key:

  my $dbh =DBI->connect("dbi:Google:", 
        File::Spec->catfile($ENV{HOME}, ".googlekey"))

In addition to the standard DBI options, the fourth argument to connect can also include the following DBD::Google specific options, the full details of each of which can be found in Net::Google:


The Google API key can be specified here, if desired.


Language restrictions. String or array reference.


Input Encoding. String or array reference.


Output Encoding. String or array reference.


Should safe mode be on? Boolean.


Should results be filtered? Boolean.


A URL for proxying HTTP requests.


Should Net::Google be put into debug mode or not? Boolean or code ref (see Net::Google).

All of these parameters are passed to the Net::Google instance's search method.

Supported SQL Syntax and Random Notes Thereon

The only supported SQL statement type is the SELECT statement. Since there is no real "table" involved, I've created a hypothetical table, called google; this table has one queryable field, q (just like the public web-based interface). The available columns are currently dictated by the data available from the underlying transport, which is the Google SOAP API (see, as implemented by Aaron Straup Cope's Net::Google module.

The basic SQL syntax supported looks like:

  SELECT @fields FROM google WHERE q = '$query'

There is also an optional LIMIT clause, the syntax of which is similar to that of MySQL's LIMIT clause; it takes a pair: offset from 0, number of results. In practice, Google returns 10 results at a time by default, so specifying a higher LIMIT clause at the beginning might make sense for some queries.

The list of available fields in the google table includes:


Returns the title of the result, as a string.


Returns the URL of the result, as a (non-HTML encoded!) string.


Returns a snippet of the result.

cachedSize / cached_size

Returns a string indicating the size of the cached version of the document.

directoryTitle / directory_title

Returns a string.


Returns a summary of the result.

hostName / host_name

Returns the hostname of the result.

directoryCategory / directory_category

Returns the directory category of the result.

The column specifications can include aliases:

  SELECT directoryCategory as DC FROM google WHERE...

DBD::Google supports functions of a few types: native DBD::Google functions, arbitrary functions or methods in the form Package::Function or Package->Method, and any Perl builtin that expects a single scalar and returns a single scalar (uc, quotemeta, oct, etc).

These functions are used like you would expect:

  SELECT title,
         Digest::MD5::md5_hex(title) as checksum,
         html_encode(URL) as URI
    FROM google
   WHERE q = '$stuff'

The native DBD::Google functions include:


This comes from the URI::Escape module.


This wraps around HTML::Entities::encode_entities.


This removes HTML from a field. Some fields, such as title, summary, and snippet, have the query terms highlighted with <b> tags by Google; this function can be used to undo that damage.

DBD::Google's support for arbitrary functions is limited to fuctions or methods specified using a fully qualified Perl package identifier:

  SELECT title                          AS Title,
         Digest::MD5::md5_hex(title)    AS Checksum,
         URI->new(URL)                  AS URI,
         LWP::Simple::get(URL)          AS content
    FROM google
   WHERE q = '$stuff'

Functions and aliases can be combined:

  SELECT html_strip(snippet) as stripped_snippet FROM google...

Unsupported SQL includes ORDER BY clauses (Google does this, and provides no interface to modify it), HAVING clauses, JOINs of any type (there's only 1 "table", after all), sub-SELECTS (I can't even imagine of what use they would be here), and, actually, anything not explicitly mentioned above.

Search Metadata

The statement handle ($sth) has a number of methods that can be called on it to return information about the query. These methods are proxied directly to the contained Net::Google::Results instance, and include the following:


Returns 0 if false, 1 if true.


Returns a string.


Returns an integer.


Returns 0 if false, 1 if true.


Returns a string.


Returns an integer.


Returns an integer.


Returns a string.


Returns a float.


DBD::Google is pure perl, and has a few module requirements:


This is the heart of the module; DBD::Google is basically a DBI-compliant wrapper around Net::Google. As of DBD::Google 0.06, Net::Google 0.60 or higher is required.

HTML::Entities, URI::Escape

These two modules provide the uri_escape and html_escape functions.



To install:

  $ perl Makefile.PL
  $ make
  $ make test
  # make install
  $ echo 'I love your module!' | mail -s "DBD::Google"

The last step is optional; the others are not.


Here is a complete script that takes a query from the command line and formats the results nicely:

  #!/usr/bin/perl -w

  use strict;

  use DBI;
  use Text::TabularDisplay;

  my $query = "@ARGV" || "perl";

  # Set up SQL statement -- note the multiple lines
  my $sql = qq~
      title, URL, hostName
      q = "$query"

  # DBI/DBD options:
  my %opts = ( RaiseError => 1,  # Standard DBI options
               PrintError => 0,
               lr => [ 'en' ],   # DBD::Google options
               oe => "utf-8",
               ie => "utf-8",

  # Get API key
  my $keyfile = glob "~/.googlekey";

  # Get database handle
  my $dbh = DBI->connect("dbi:Google:", $keyfile, undef, \%opts);

  # Create Text::TabularDisplay instance, and set the columns
  my $table = Text::TabularDisplay->new;
  $table->columns("Title", "URL", "Hostname");

  # Do the query
  my $sth = $dbh->prepare($sql);
  while (my @row = $sth->fetchrow_array) {

  print $table->render;


I've only tested this using my free, 1000-uses-per-day API key, so I don't know how well/if this software will work for those of you who have purchased real licenses for unlimited usage.

Placeholders are currently unsupported. They won't do any good, but would be nice to have for consistency with other DBDs. I'll get around to it someday.

There are many Interesting Things that can be done with this module, I think -- suggestions as to what those things might actually be are very welcome. Patches implementing said Interesting Things are also welcome, of course.

More specifically, queries that the SQL parser chokes on would be very useful, so I can refine the test suite (and the parser itself, of course).

There are probably a few bugs, though I don't know of any. Please report them via the DBD::Google queue at <>.


DBI, DBI::DBD, Net::Google, URI::Escape, HTML::Entities


darren chamberlain <>