A look at Microsoft's developer site shows that it has been busy catching up with Google APIs. The Bing Search API has moved to version 2.0 and is now part of the Windows Azure Marketplace . While 5000 transactions/month are free, the pricing of Bing API moves linearly with 500 transactions/month for every dollar (there are different slabs though).
The Bing Search API returns results for the following source types:
|Web||Web search results|
|Images||Image search results|
|News||News search results|
|Videos||Video search results|
|Related Search||Related search suggestions based on the query entered|
|Spelling Suggestions||Spelling suggestions based on the query entered|
You can build a sample query here in the Windows Azure Marketplace Explorer.
Bing Maps API is the second component of the Bing APIs and is available here. Bing Maps Keys now fall into three categories: Trial, Basic and Enterprise (licensed enterprise accounts only)
Bing Maps API contains other APIs including-
|Locations API||Use the Locations API to geocode and reverse-geocode location data.|
|Imagery API||Use the Imagery API to get a static map and imagery data information such as map tiles and providers.|
|Routes API||Use the Routes API to get directions and route information for driving, walking or using transit.|
|Traffic API||Use the Traffic API to get information about traffic incidents and issues in a specified area.|
The third component is the Bing Webmaster API available here. Bing Webmaster Tools API Services supports SOAP, POX/ HTTP and JSON/HTTP. The API Key can be got by the Bing Toolbox website This is quite a surprising competitor to Google Analytics.
The Translator API is the last major component on API services by Bing as can been seen by the Bing Developer Site.It can be seen at Windows Azure Marketplace here. Another API service by Microsoft is the SkyDrive API which is Window's version of Google Drive API . We will cover the SkyDrive API along with Live Connect API later.
Overall while Microsoft 's Bing suite of APIs do offer some limited competition to Google APIs, there needs to be more development including support for Python,R and other languages. The Documentation can also be rationalized between MSDN, Channel 9, and other webpages in the rather huge Microsoft Documentation universe.I also would urge the Bing Team to spend more thought on design and user interfaces.I would also urge the Google APIs team to learn from Microsoft's focus on enterprise customers, and their system of pricing.
My APIs console at Bing (or actually my datamarket account at Azure https://datamarket.azure.com/account/datasets) looked like this at the end of this research .
Microsoft remains a very big player in the enterprise software market, and one of the few challengers to Google. Their success with initiatives in robotics and gaming points to a continued commitment to both depth and breadth of Research and Development. If you are a developer, you may find opportunities using the Bing services which are saturated in the Google services space.
Microsoft Bing- just a Bing API call away!