<script src="http://firstname.lastname@example.org&size=128"> </script>
Where the email parameter indicates the email address of the user and size indicates the size in pixels of the profile picture. Profile pictures are always square.
If you have a database that contains email addresses, but you don't have contact names, then you can use this API to determine how to address a user, without resorting to "Dear sir or madam", or "Dear user"
“What about using this API to add a dash of colour and graphics to user communications by showing a recognisable image beside user comments? Now you can add a meaningful user profile pic, without asking them to upload an image”
“ Worried about user trust? use this API to validate the name provided by the user matches his email address ”
It's what we get in return for providing this part of the service free to the public. It's also quite
limited in what it can do, and really only for the most basic of applications. It is restricted by IP
address, so it is not suitable for server side use.
The XML API costs $10 per 1,000 calls, which is 1 cent per call. This is payable via paypal, and we're happy to discuss discounts with bigger clients (1 million calls+). This is entirely flexible and you can do whatever you want with it, and don't need to attribute us, or give us a link back.
The images returned by this service remain the copyright of Google,
and are hosted on Google servers. The scenarios
defined in this website would fall under the 'fair use' clause of copyright
law, so you are free to display them on your website, or email communications.
We do not store the email addresses sent to our API, so we can't and wouldn't be able to contact your users.
Addressing a customer by first and last name gives immediate familiarity and trust. The customer will feel as if you know him or her already, and will be less likely to immediately delete your marketing email as spam. But all too often email marketing databases come with either missing or incomplete names, and you end up having to resort to address your prospective client with a "Dear Sir or Madam" which means that the recipient is going to hit the delete button before he reads the first line of your email.
If you have an online support forum, adding a face and a name to your users adds a dash of colour and graphics to a bland environment, it also helps puts a face to the name of your users, creating a friendlier environment for customers.
Although not every email address can be validated via this service, it is something that can be treated as a trust ranking signal, if the email address provided by your user has a matching name, and a profile pic set. This would indicate an email account that has been used, and associated with some Google services.