For example, this question talks about 2 ways of accessing the API: OVER_QUERY_LIMIT in a loop
And it appears that there is some type of direct web access taking place in this question: Querying Google Places API using jQuery
FINAL SUMMARY EDIT: There are two distinct ways of requesting data from Google, as described in @Dan Nissenbaum's answer below. And since my original question, the QUERY_LIMIT question referenced above has been edited to also include more information about the two options.
Here are the two scenarios.
Scenario #1: Use the API directly. For this method, you must refer to Google's API documentation for the Google Places API: https://developers.google.com/maps/documentation/places/.
Using this API works as follows (giving a simple example only). Say you want to retrieve places within 1000 meters of latitude=-27.2531166, longitude=138.8655664. You need to hit a URL as described by the API documentation: https://developers.google.com/maps/documentation/places/#PlaceSearchRequests.
In this example, the URL looks like this (it's long):
You need a key for your personal use, which I assume you have. There are other options you can specify, such as limiting the results to restaurants, etc.
When you hit this URL, the data will be returned in either JSON, or XML format, as specified by the text
json in the URL above (use the text
xml for xml). This data is returned exactly like data is returned from any URL call when you hit a URL in your browser.
You can test this by simply typing the URL directly in your browser, and see the results.