Yahoo Search BOSS APIs Now Open for Developers

Yahoo has introduced several new developer innovations to its Yahoo Search BOSS API, allowing increased access to structured data and longer abstracts. In addition, Yahoo plans to implement usage fees for BOSS, likely late in the second quarter of 2009, which the company believes will optimize capacity for developers.

Yahoo has announced a few updates to the Yahoo Search BOSS API that could prove useful to developers looking to boost how the search giant ranks their Web sites.

BOSS, which stands for Build Your Own Search Service, is an open-search Web services platform, produced by Yahoo, that allows developers to create their own search products.

First among these changes is allowing developers access, via the BOSS API, to the structured data that Yahoo SearchMonkey has pulled from Web sites via Yahoo Web Crawler. Developers can then use this structured data to control the appearance of Yahoo search results.

SearchMonkey, which made its debut in May 2008, is an integral part of the Yahoo Open Strategy, which embraces the concept of allowing its 500 million-plus users to freely share content.

Two additional BOSS features include Long Abstracts - which introduces a lengthier character limit for abstracts, providing more URL-level information - and Site Explorer, which allows access to domain and sub-domain inbound links and page links, so Web masters can see how Yahoo is indexing their sites.

"It allows you to do interesting things with relevancy," said Bill Michels, senior director of Open Search for Yahoo.

In addition, Yahoo will also be implementing usage fees for BOSS in the second quarter. The new pricing structure will be based on CPM fees for the BOSS API. Depending on the query type, up to 10,000 API calls will be free for developers; after that, a fee structure will kick into effect.

"The theme with our road map is to give developers access to as much tools and data as possible," Michels added. "We want that functionality and tools to be available to everybody."