Everyone with a website knows how important their Google search rankings are. To help site owners get the best rankings possible, the company already offers a set of tools; now, Google is making the data used by those tools available to third-party applications through application programming interfaces (APIs).

Those APIs don’t provide the full functionality of Google Webmaster Tools, says Google’s Jonathan Simon, but they do allow you to use other applications to pull up a list of your sites in Webmaster Tools, add sites to your tools, retrieve a list of sitemaps and more. This should create some interesting opportunities for application developers, and hopefully lead to new ways for site owners to figure out how to improve their Google juice.

Simon says this flexibility is something webmasters have been asking for, and, rather creatively, he uses the range of barbecuing equipment available to illustrate his point. (In fact, he goes on and on about it; if you’re not that interested in his take on solar cooking, you should probably skip to the third paragraph of his announcement.)

This release comes just a few hours after the launch of Google Trends for Websites, which uses Google Analytics data and other sources to compare traffic between different websites. Both announcements illustrate the increasingly obvious point that Google’s strength lies as much in the data it collects as in the cool tools it creates.

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