Yahoo's Best BOSS Search Mashups

Jordan Running
Aug. 14 2008, 12:38AM EDT

Last month Yahoo! announced BOSS, its Build Your Own Search Service, which "allows developers and companies to create and launch web-scale search products by utilizing the same infrastructure and technology that powers Yahoo! Search." The REST API allows developers to get results in XML or JSON format for web, news, and image search queries. Recently the official Yahoo! Search Blog showcased a handful of the best mashups that third-party developers created in BOSS's first month of operation.

The most visually interesting is the Java-based Tianamo, which uses Java to plot search keywords on a dynamically-generated 3D terrain. Clicking on the terrain will let you navigate through related topics while search results are displayed on the right (our Tianamo mashup profile).

4hoursearch, below, is so named because, developer Sam Pullara says, "It took 4 hours to write the initial code, 4 hours for it to go from unknown to 20 hits / second, 4 hours looking for a domain name and 4 hours to build the brand new UI. Fortunately, it won’t take 4 hours to find something with it." More at our 4 hour search profile.

The Yahoo! Search Blog neglects to mention that it was originally named Yuil and conceived as a parody of recent search start-up Cuil; regardless, 4hoursearch is a great mashup.

Next is sports search engine PlayerSearch, which pulls in links, news, photos and videos from all over the web. Unfortunately for Yahoo! it's the AOL Video-powered video ticker at the top of the results that steals the spotlight from the static BOSS-powered web search results below, but it still shows how BOSS fits into a larger mashup ecosystem (our Player Search mashup profile).

Finally there's NewsLine, which we mentioned in our coverage of Dipity's interactive timeline API last week. NewsLine uses BOSS to gather news headlines based on keywords entered and puts them on a scrollable, zoomable timeline with the Dipity API. Their example pits John McCain headlines against Barack Obama's on stacked timelines:

With this batch of four fresh BOSS mashups Yahoo! succeeds in showing that the fledgling API can be used to produce widely varying search experiences.

Jordan Running I'm a serial tinkerer living in the midwest and dreaming of a totally machine-readable, interoperable future.

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