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Build the Next Generation Search with Yahoo! Boss


July 14, 2008


Yahoo! is taking the next step in its open strategy with the launch of BOSS: Build your Own Search Service. The BOSS program allows outside developers and companies to build their own search engines using the same infrastructure and technology that powers Yahoo! Search.

“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.”, is written on the Yahoo! blog.

It seems that Yahoo!’s ambitions are to bring up innovation into the search landscape and why not to disrupt the whole market. Yahoo hopes that armed with the power of the startups and outside developers it will take away some of the Google’s search share.

Today, it is almost impossible for smaller players to build competitive search engines. There are some insuperable barriers that startups usually encounter: from the high cost of the investment with respect to the engineering and core infrastructure to the recruitment of talented scientific staff and the huge amount of data that must be gathered in order to achieve relevance in the results. Yahoo! believes that the BOSS platform will positively impact the overall search evolution by providing opportunities for new players to enter into the search game.

The BOSS API is based on Yahoo's index of Web search, news and image search results. The Yahoo’s API allows unlimited queries to be performed as well as re-ranking of search results, blending of Yahoo’s results with proprietary and other web content in a single search experience and change in the presentation of the results. The BOSS API can be used directly or via a mashup framework that simplifies the process of aggregating data from across the web.

Hakia and Me.dium are among the first who have already begun to use Boss in order to power their web results. The social browser plug-in Me.dium is using Yahoo API to create a social search engine that will rank results based on users' surfing behavior.

Hakia, a semantic search startup, is using BOSS to access the Yahoo! Search index and increase the speed with which it can semantically analyze the web. Hakia blends Yahoo! results with their own and delivers a language search experience that isn't available from none of the other search providers.

The BOSS APIs are in beta for now but Yahoo continues to work on expanding the API functionality and providing more access to Yahoo! Search Technology.

It is expected in the next few months Yahoo to monetize the program by implementing the inclusion of Yahoo! search ads on their partners’ search results. In this way, Boss could turn out to be very profitable service that will enable Yahoo to expand its advertising network.


                



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