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

Adam DuVander The former ProgrammableWeb Executive Editor, Adam is an API expert now helping regular people connect them at Zapier. Previously he worked at API companies SendGrid and Orchestrate, and wrote for Wired and Webmonkey. Adam is also the author of mapping API cookbook Map Scripting 101. Find him at

Comments (4)

[...] found the announcement reported on the Programmable Web a harbinger. “Yahoo Quietly Axes Two Search APIs” disclosed that Yahoo is out of the entity extraction business * before * the Microsoft deal [...]


while I am biased, I am inviting people to try Zemanta API for term extraction, entity and concept detection and similar tasks.

It is sad to see Yahoo's dropping a ball, some of their projects should be considered "public good". But I am sure people there will continue to create wonderful stuff, albeit maybe under different brand.


Andraz Tori, CTO at Zemanta

[...] last week we reported on Yahoo’s decision to shut down two of its APIs: the Term Extraction and the Contextual Web [...]