Yahoo's New Search API Pricing Compared to Google, Bing

On Nov. 20, new pricing went into effect for the Yahoo BOSS Search API, a suite of APIs and tools that can be used to build custom search engines driven by the Yahoo search platform. In light of the updated Yahoo pricing, ProgrammableWeb has reviewed the pricing structure for the three leading search APIs: Yahoo BOSS SearchTrack this API, Google Custom SearchTrack this API and Microsoft Bing SearchTrack this API.

Bing-Yahoo-Google-Search-APIs

Comparing the pricing of Yahoo, Google and Microsoft Bing search APIs was not an easy task; each company uses different criteria for the pricing of its search API. In addition, the maximum number of search results returned per query is different for each of these APIs. The default maximum search results returned per query is 50 for Yahoo, 10 for Google and 1,000 for Bing. All three companies offer a full version and a limited version of their search APIs.

Of the three companies, Yahoo and Microsoft have the most straightforward and understandable search API pricing. The pricing for Google Site Search (paid plans) is also pretty straightforward. However, determining the total cost of the Google Custom Search Engine API (free, basic) is difficult because it greatly depends on the search query volume per day. To determine which full-featured search API is the least expensive as well as the best value, ProgrammableWeb calculated the pricing for four search query conditions:

  • 1,000 queries per month, set at 50 results returned per query (50,000 results total)
  • 5,000 queries per month, set at 50 results returned per query (250,000 results total)
  • 10,000 queries per month, set at 50 results returned per query (500,000 results total)
  • 20,000 queries per month, set at 50 results returned per query (1 million results total)

Search API Pricing Comparison Chart

 

Pricing for Yahoo, Google and Microsoft Bing full-featured search APIs. See calculations for pricing below. Chart created using Google Charts, which is part of the Google Visualization API.


Yahoo BOSS Search

The full Web-only version of the Yahoo BOSS Search API allows applications to access Yahoo's Web search results from the complete search index, while the limited version allows applications to access Web results from a limited index. The limited version also has a slower refresh of approximately three days.

Yahoo has increased the pricing for the BOSS Search API full Web-only version from $0.80 per 1,000 queries to $1.50. The pricing for the limited Web version has been raised from $0.40 per 1,000 queries to $1.20. While these are significant price increases, the Yahoo BOSS Search API is still very reasonably priced compared with the Google Site Search (Paid) API.

Yahoo BOSS Search API pricing is based on the number and type of queries. Yahoo also charges a "query fee" that is measured by BOSS Units (see Yahoo chart); each BOSS Unit costs $0.10.

Yahoo BOSS Search Pricing Calculations — Up to 50 results returned per query

  • 1,000 queries per month (50 results returned) = $1.50/month
  • 5,000 queries per month (50 results returned) = $7.50/month
  • 10,000 queries per month (50 results returned) = $15/month
  • 20,000 queries per month (50 results returned) = $30/month

Google Site Search

Google Site Search is the full-featured business edition of the Google Search platform, which includes customizable design, image search and on-demand indexing. Google Site Search offers developers two different API versions for retrieving search results: the CSE/GSS JSON API, a RESTful API that retrieves search results in JSON format, and the GSS XML API, which returns search results in XML format. Google Custom Search Engine is the basic edition of the Google Search platform allowing developers to add a Google search box to Web pages and applications. Google Custom Search Engine features a RESTful API that can return search results in either JSON or Atom format.

Google offers several paid plans that are based on the number of search queries per year. Google also has a basic plan that allows 100 search queries per day for free; the price after that is $5 per 1,000 queries, or $.005 per query.

Google Site Search (Paid) Plans

  • $100/year — 20,000 search queries/year (blogs, personal sites) = $.005 per query
  • $250/year — 50,000 search queries/year (small business) = $.005 per query
  • $750/year — 150,000 search queries/year (small businesses with more traffic) = $.005 per query
  • $2,000/year — 500,000 search queries/year (medium-sized businesses & sites) = $.004 per query

Google Site Search Pricing Calculations — Up to 10 results returned per query (it takes five queries for 50 results returned)

  • 1,000 queries per month = $5 x 5 (for 50 results returned) = $25/month
  • 5,000 queries per month = $25 x 5 (for 50 results returned) = $125/month
  • 10,000 queries per month = $40 x 5 (for 50 results returned) = $200/month
  • 20,000 queries per month = $80 x 5 (for 50 results returned) = $400/month

Microsoft Bing Search

The Microsoft Bing Search API allows developers to incorporate Microsoft Bing Search platform functionality into websites and applications. The Microsoft Bing Search API offers multiple types of search results such as Web, images, news, video and spelling suggestions. API responses are returned in either XML or JSON format. There is also a Web-results-only version of the Microsoft Bing Search API, which allows developers to embed Web results in applications. The limited API does not allow access to additional result types such as images, videos and news.

Pricing for the Microsoft Bing Search API is based on the number of transactions per month. The Microsoft Bing Search API page states that "a transaction is one request that returns one page of results. Retrieving multiple pages, will result in multiple transactions executed." Microsoft Bing does not limit the search results returned per request in the same way that Yahoo and Google does; the Microsoft Bing Search API allows up to 1,000 results returned per query. It should be noted that dividing the 1,000 results into five pages would count as five transactions, 10 pages would count as 10 transactions, etc.

Microsoft Bing Search Pricing Calculations — Up to 1,000 results returned per query

  • 1,000 queries per month, set at 50 results returned per query = $0/month
  • 5,000 queries per month, set at 50 results returned per query = $0/month
  • 10,000 queries per month, set at 50 results returned per query = $20/month
  • 20,000 queries per month, set at 50 results returned per query = $40/month

Conclusion

Of the three search APIs, Microsoft Bing offers the most generous freemium plan (up to 5,000 transactions per month) for both the full version search API and the limited version. However, when it comes to 10k+ bulk queries, Yahoo is the least expensive of the three.

Pricing is just one of the many factors to consider when choosing a search API. Yahoo, Google and Microsoft all provide search APIs that allow developers to add reliable, high-quality search functionality to their applications. Choosing an appropriate search API depends on budget and the types of search features needed for your project.

Disclaimer: Pricing and product information provided in this article is accurate as of the time of publication. All pricing is in USD.

Janet Wagner is a freelance technical writer and contributor to ProgrammableWeb covering breaking news, in-depth analysis, and product reviews. She specializes in creating well-researched, in-depth content about APIs, machine learning, deep learning, computer vision, analytics, GIS/maps, and other advanced technologies.

Comments

Comments(6)

ppearcy

I think the math for Yahoo pricing is incorrect. The price should be either USD or boss units, not the sum of both.

So, 1000 queries is $1.50 per month, not $3.00.

pw_honcho

@ppearcy and saurabh_sahni, you are both correct. We will have a correction to the pricing noted shortly.

 

Thanks,

nigeljonessky

Thank you for the comparison. It would be interesting to see a comparison between the alternative search APIs like Webhose.io, Talkwalker, Faroo and others.

Each alternative has it advantages an disatvantages:

Faroo - its free :) but has quite poor coverage and metadata quality

Talkwalter - Great coverage, historical data, but very expensive and poor metadata

Webhose.io - Great coverage, great metadata, fair pricing, but no historical data (only recent)

I guess there are others, and it's will be great to learn about the alternatives...

 

JMrv

Hi Janet,

Excellent post!!. 

I took a look to Google Site Search and it seems that it only allow searching over one particular web and not over all interent, so the comparation with bing or boss that not seem to be fair. I am missing something?

 

Thanks,

Jaime

 

dstick

If anyone's looking for a more cost-effective solution that tackles multiple search engines at once, give https://searchapi.io a try! :)