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Thursday, July 10, 2008

Yahoo! Opens Up It’s Infrastructure & Technology For Search To Developers & Companies With BOSS

Boss Yahoo! Search is taking another step in extending the Yahoo! Open Strategy with the launch of Yahoo! Search BOSS, a web services platform that allows developers and companies to create and launch web-scale search products by utilizing the same infrastructure and technology that powers Yahoo! Search.

BOSS (Build your Own Search Service) is simple -- foster innovation in the search landscape. As anyone who follows the search industry knows, the barriers to successfully building a high quality, web-scale search engine are incredibly high. Doing so requires hundreds of millions of dollars of investment in engineering, sciences and core infrastructure -- from crawling and indexing technology to relevancy and machine learning algorithms, to stuff as mundane as data centers, servers and power. Because competing successfully in web search requires an investment of this scale, new players have effectively been prohibited from delivering credible alternatives to Yahoo! and Google. BOSS platform will begin to change that.

So what is BOSS?

BOSS is a new, open platform that offers programmatic access to the entire Yahoo! Search index via an API. BOSS allows developers to take advantage of Yahoo!'s production search infrastructure and technology, combine that with their own unique assets, and create their own search experiences. While search APIs have been available for some time, BOSS removes many of the usage restrictions that have prevented other companies from using them to build innovative new search engines.

Here's a quick summary of what's available today:

  • Ability to re-rank and blend results -- BOSS partners can re-rank search results as they see fit and blend Yahoo!'s results with proprietary and other web content in a single search experience
  • Total flexibility on presentation -- Freedom to present search results using any user interface paradigm, without Yahoo! branding or attribution requirements
  • BOSS Mashup Framework – Yahoo! is releasing a Python library and UI templates that allow developers to easily mashup BOSS search results with other public data sources
  • Web, news and image search -- At launch, developers will have access to web, news and image search and you will find more verticals soon
  • Unlimited queries -- There are no rate limits on the number of queries per day

These capabilities are really just a first step – BOSS team is already working on expanding the API functionality and providing more access to Yahoo! Search Technology.

In addition to a self-serve API, Yahoo! is also partnering with a handful of Internet companies with large user bases or unique assets to collaboratively develop next gen search products using Yahoo!'s full suite of search technology. To learn more about BOSS Custom, click here.

What's in it for Yahoo! and partners?

Why would Yahoo! open up its search infrastructure and technology to developers, entrepreneurs and companies who could use it to compete with us?

Yahoo! believes that being open is core to Yahoo!'s future success -- opening it’s network and search experience via SearchMonkey, and now opening search infrastructure via BOSS -- will lead to innovation both on Yahoo! and powered by Yahoo!.

BOSS will be beneficial to both yahoo! as well as partners who deliver innovative search experiences. So as they grow their audiences and usage Yahoo! will have more data that can be used to improve Yahoo!’s own Search experience and as a result, improve the quality of results BOSS partners and their users get. Second, Yahoo! sees a new revenue streams from BOSS. In the coming months, they’ll be launching a monetization platform for BOSS that will enable Yahoo! to expand its ad network and enable BOSS partners to jointly partwicipate in the compelling economics of search.

What's in it for users?

More choice. BOSS will enable a range of fundamentally different search experiences. These new search products will provide value to users along multiple dimensions, such as vertical specialization, new relevance indicators and ranking models, and innovative UI implementations.

Kick the tires and get started

Want to kick the tires on what BOSS-powered search could look like? As part of an alpha program, Yahoo! has been working with a handful of start-ups and developers who have already begun using BOSS. Here are a few early examples of what's possible with BOSS: Me.dium, Hakia, Daylife To-Go Cluuz..

To learn more about BOSS and get started using the API, visit the Yahoo! Developer Network. BOSS is open to all -- so check out the documentation, get a BOSS app ID and start building the next generation of search.

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