Yahoo Quietly Axes Two Search APIs

It hasn't been long since developers responded with fear that Yahoo's innovative search tools could go away. Now two of the smaller, but still well-loved, APIs have been given less than a month to live.

In a message on Yahoo's developer forum, YDN's Brian Cantoni posted a short and to the point notice:

"We now have an official closure date of August 31, 2009 for the Term
Extraction and Contextual Web Search services. Internally, both services
share a backend data source that is closing down, so the publicly-facing YDN
services will be closing as well."

And at the top of Yahoo's documentation pages for these APIs is the clear message:


It is unclear whether the backend data source the APIs share is related to Microsoft's search deal with Yahoo. It was apparently set to be discontinued in July, but no announcement was ever made. Yahoo has not yet suggested alternatives to developers.

Term extraction (our Yahoo Term Extraction profile) was popular amongst developers for finding keywords within larger bodies of text (for example we've got 33 Term Extraction mashups listed here). The Contextual Web Search (part of our Yahoo Search API profile) found related web page results based on a query with additional text to provide context. For example, a search for "amazon" with a paragraph about South America would be unlikely to return the online reseller.

Both APIs were related to the Y!Q contextual search application. There is no word on it being discontinued, or whether it is the shared backend data source that Cantoni refers to.

Hat tip: Dare Obasanjo

Be sure to read the next Search article: Wolfram Alpha Releases Their API