Yahoo Opens Search Developer Program

By Matthew Hicks  |  Posted 2005-03-01 Print this article Print

The company seeks closer ties to developers by launching APIs into its search technology and unveiling a developer community site.

NEW YORK—Yahoo wants developers to know that its search engine welcomes them. The company on Tuesday is launching a comprehensive developers program for its search technology during the Search Engine Strategies 2005 Conference & Expo here. Called the Yahoo Search Developer Network, the program provides access to Yahoos Web search engine, its four vertical search services, such as Yahoo News, and its technology for checking spelling and recommending related searches.
Yahoo also rolled the developer API (application programming interface) from its Overture Services division into the program.
"This is a recognition that search is going from a consumer application to a broad platform on the Web," said Eckart Walther, Yahoos director of product development. "Search is becoming the file system of the Internet." Yahoos developer announcement is scheduled to coincide with a keynote presentation from Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang, who is opening the second day of the four-day conference. Yahoo isnt the first search engine to open developer access. Google Inc. offers the Google Web APIs for its Web search engine and last month opened its AdWords advertising system to developers. But Walther said he expects Yahoos APIs for its spell checker and related search technology to stand out from its competitors developer programs. Read more here about Googles AutoLink tool bar feature stirring debate. For example, developers could write a Web service for their Web applications to retrieve spelling suggestions from Yahoo Search. The developer network also features APIs to Yahoos Web search, image search, video search, news search and local search. Through the network, the Overture API, which was launched in 2001, will become available to a broader set of developers, Walther said. Click here to read about search panning to video. For each API, developers are limited to accessing 5,000 queries per day. Yahoo is offering sample code for popular Web application development languages including Java, JavaScript, Perl, Python and PHP. Yahoo also wants to build an online community among developers through its site. It is creating mailing lists and discussion groups focused on each API, showcasing applications and starting a developer Weblog and wiki for collaboration on questions, ideas and feedback. "We really want to get closer to the developers, and this is a big step in that direction," Walther said. While initially focused on search, the developer site and program are likely to expand to include APIs for other Yahoo services, Walther said. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, views and analysis on enterprise search technology.
Matthew Hicks As an online reporter for, Matt Hicks covers the fast-changing developments in Internet technologies. His coverage includes the growing field of Web conferencing software and services. With eight years as a business and technology journalist, Matt has gained insight into the market strategies of IT vendors as well as the needs of enterprise IT managers. He joined Ziff Davis in 1999 as a staff writer for the former Strategies section of eWEEK, where he wrote in-depth features about corporate strategies for e-business and enterprise software. In 2002, he moved to the News department at the magazine as a senior writer specializing in coverage of database software and enterprise networking. Later that year Matt started a yearlong fellowship in Washington, DC, after being awarded an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellowship for Journalist. As a fellow, he spent nine months working on policy issues, including technology policy, in for a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He rejoined Ziff Davis in August 2003 as a reporter dedicated to online coverage for Along with Web conferencing, he follows search engines, Web browsers, speech technology and the Internet domain-naming system.

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