Microsoft Releases Bing API - With No Usage Quotas

Michael Manoochehri
Jun. 08 2009, 01:32AM EDT

When Microsoft launched their much-touted new search engine Bing last week it generated a lots of press and despite a somewhat muted expectations, it turned-out to be something of a hit. But lost in all the broader buzz about Bing was some news for developers: Bing has an API. We've now added a new Bing API Profile with technical details.

Like the Bing service itself, the API is a re-branded and enhanced version of the Microsoft's Live Search API. Just days before the official Bing launch, the API was updated with many of the features of the new Bing service. That earlier announcement for Live Search 2.0 has the highlights:

  • Developers can now request data in JSON and XML formats. The SOAP interface that the Live Search API required has also been retained.
  • Requested data can be narrowed to one of the following source types: web, news, images, phonebook, spell-checker, related queries, and Encarta instant answer.
  • It is now possible to send requests in OpenSearch-compliant RSS format for web, news, image and phonebook queries.
  • Client applications will be able to combine any number of different data source types into a single request with a single query string.

The Bing API is part of a larger set of web application development services called "Project Silk Road." Microsoft's Bing Developer Center describes how Bing fits into the Silk Road project:

A key part of Project Silk Road is a re-architected Bing API that offers open, flexible options for building or enhancing your site or applications. Developing an application with the new API is straightforward: Choose a SourceType (or SourceTypes - you're not limited to one), choose an output protocol (JSON, SOAP, or XML) and then customize according to your needs. All you need to get going is an AppID.

More detailed information on features specific to the various data source types can be found at the MSDN website.

In a world where APIs are often limited in many ways, it's notable that in addition to these technical updates that Microsoft has removed the API usage quotas found in the Live Search API, with the requirement that it be used for "user-facing applications" only. Note that the terms of use have also been loosened to allow more flexible presentation options such as "no restrictions on ordering and blending search results".

To access the service, developers must create an AppID using an (anachronistically named) Windows Live ID login. US-based developers may also choose to participate in a pilot program to generate revenue from their search applications.

Given that Microsoft has often found themselves a distant third in search queries behind competitors Yahoo! and Google (Microsoft recently accounted for just over 8% of all search queries, compared to Google's 64%), the prospect of a better search engine could be good for search competition. And with the new Bing API there's also more opportunities for developers who opt to build on this new feature rich and standards-aware API.

Michael Manoochehri

Comments

Comments(49)

[...] Bing API: The Microsoft Bing API offers open, flexible options for building or enhancing your site or applications. Developing an application with the new API is straightforward: Choose a SourceTypes (Web, Images, InstantAnswer, Phonebook, RelatedSearch, Spelling), choose an output protocol (JSON, SOAP, or XML) and then customize according to your needs. For more, see our story on Microsoft Releases Bing API - With No Usage Quotas [...]

@Alessandro,

Glad to hear that it was unintended, we have already had an active discussion about this on twitter. If you make the change, pls send me a note at blog [at] arjunram [dot] com and I will post an update on twitter for others benefit.

Cheers!

This is essentially Microsoft's long-awaited takeover of Yahoo's web search portal, but packaged in a way that will be more palatable to Yahoo. It's a deal carefully crafted and cushioned, to minimise the hurt caused to Yahoo's tender pride. It's more than a "deal" and it's more than a merger. . This is a takeover by another name.

"That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet."

http://www.timacheson.com/Blog/2009/jul/yahoo_upgrades_their_search_engi...

tim

Hum. Yahoo BOSS was unlimited, until they decided it wasn't unlimited anymore. Be careful if you plan to build something on a 3rd party platform, TOS are always subject to change, even when the evangelists say you can trust them for not changing TOS.

[...] [Programmableweb] BingにはAPIがあります。現在、技術的詳細で新しいビングAPI Profileを加えました。 [...]

@Alessandro,

Happy to be proven wrong but what about the following lines in the terms?

"Your license to use the services is limited, however, to solely your Websites and applications that are provided without charge to the end user"

How can you support commercial applications with terms & conditions like these?

Matthew

Sigh. Pretty much useless for most commercial usage:

"On any page in which you display Bing results, you will only display advertising that we serve or provide."

Come on, some monetization flexibility is required. You're already reserving the right to inject ads in the returned results:

"We may also include advertising in Bing results provided through the services and, if we do so, you will not remove, modify, or interfere with the display or viewing of this advertising."

Web properties almost already have existing deals with ad networks, or may even (gasp) need to display adsense from time to time. It's not the end of the world if you coexist with other ad networks.

You are actually getting the data from an old white paper. There are more types available today than you mentioned: you should add Video, Mobile Web, Flight Status instant answer and Machine Translation

Enjoy

--Alessandro Catorcini

Bing API Program Management

[...] Bing API: The Microsoft Bing API offers open, flexible options for building or enhancing your site or applications. Developing an application with the new API is straightforward: Choose a SourceTypes (Web, Images, InstantAnswer, Phonebook, RelatedSearch, Spelling), choose an output protocol (JSON, SOAP, or XML) and then customize according to your needs. For more, see our story on Microsoft Releases Bing API - With No Usage Quotas [...]

[...] APIリリース // [Programmableweb] BingにはAPIがあります。現在、技術的詳細で新しいビングAPI [...]

[...] Bing:…ahora le toca a la API de Bing! Archivado en: Bing — Juan Carlos González Martín @ 10:23 pm Si en los últimos posts os hablaba sobre las diferentes ramas que tiene Microsoft Bing: Bing Travel, Bing Maps o Bing Translator, hoy toca hablar sobre si podemos de alguna forma como desarrolladores aprovechar la potencia de la plataforma Bing…la respuesta es que por supuesto, ya que al igual que su predecesor Windows Live Search, Bing cuenta con una API que está disponible para que la podamos usar en nuestros desarrollos de forma gratuita. Esta API viene a mejorar y modernizar la API de Windows Live Search (realmente es una actualización de esta), ya que nos permite trabajar con formatos JSON y XMl, consultar distintas fuentes de datos en un mismo query string, o enviar peticiones RSS estándar…podéis consultar estas novedades y otras a través de este enlace. [...]

share this review: Yahoo BOSS WAS unlimited, it wasn't Until They DECIDED unlimited anymore. BE CAREFUL if you plan to build Something on a 3rd party platform, TOS Are always subject to change, Even When the evangelists say you can trust Them for Not Changing TOS.

Happy to be proven wrong but what about the following lines in the terms?

“Your license to use the services is limited, however, to solely your Websites and applications that are provided without charge to the end user”

How can you support commercial applications with terms & conditions like these?

This is essentially Microsoft’s long-awaited takeover of Yahoo’s web search portal, but packaged in a way that will be more palatable to Yahoo. It’s a deal carefully crafted and cushioned, to minimise the hurt caused to Yahoo’s tender pride. It’s more than a “deal” and it’s more than a merger. . This is a takeover by another name