Being Optimistic at the Deathbed of Yahoo Search API

Adam DuVander
Aug. 07 2009, 01:55PM EDT

The news of Yahoo's deal to use Microsoft's Bing for search at best has some standing vigil over BOSS and SearchMonkey (our profiles of the BOSS API and Yahoo Search API). At worst, many are already calling the services dead.

For the last year, optimism has been easy for Yahoo developers. The company has released innovative APIs, such as BOSS, which stands for Build your Own Search Service. Yahoo appeared to be turning its technology focus to developers, providing lots of support and openness.

Bing, BOSS and SearchMonkey

The official word from Yahoo is vague about the future:

"For SearchMonkey and BOSS, we currently do not have anything concrete to tell you. Clearly, we'll need to work with Microsoft to determine what makes the most sense for you and for us."

It is clear that other developer products will stay, most notably Yahoo Query Language (our YQL API profile) and Yahoo Pipes. All non-search products are also safe, which points to the deciding factor being business politics, not the quality or popularity of Yahoo's services.

Will Microsoft allow Bing's results to be shown in Yahoo APIs? Microsoft's shiny new Bing API might win over the nostalgia of maintaining the "old."

An irate BOSS developer found something of a silver lining:

"Do not take me wrong, have been using the Bing API since 2.0 and find it very similar to BOSS for integration purposes and results are good."

But the overall message is one of sadness, because in this case no news is probably bad news. The uncertainty makes it hard to be optimistic, but we'll certainly learn more in the coming months as the two search services become one.

Adam DuVander -- Adam heads developer relations at Orchestrate, a database-as-a-service company. He's spent many years analyzing APIs and developer tools. Previously he worked at SendGrid, edited ProgrammableWeb and wrote for Wired and Webmonkey. Adam is also the author of mapping API cookbook Map Scripting 101.

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