Yahoo to Close SearchMonkey as Bing Takes Hold

Yahoo is shuttling its back-end search in the U.S. and Canada to Microsoft Bing. The move is geared to have Bing and Yahoo team up in search to gouge Google.

Yahoo's ceding of its search engine to Microsoft Bing is accelerating, as the Internet company said it will begin shuttling its search infrastructure to Microsoft in the United States and Canada later this week.

Yahoo will post an update when the organic search transition is complete. Meanwhile, users will see "Powered by Bing" badges at the bottom of Yahoo search engine results pages, said Shashi Seth, vice president of search product operations for Yahoo.

Users began seeing these tags last month, with Yahoo surfacing limited testing of organic search listings from Bing, but should see more and more of them soon.

However, Sheth reiterated Yahoo's promise to maintain the same search user interface and experience for users, including Search Assist suggestions and related topic suggestions. Yahoo also began testing paid search account transitions, which advertisers can learn about here.

The moves are the latest steps in Yahoo and Microsoft's July 2009 pact to have Bing power Yahoo search and search ads for 10 years, an effort geared to gouge Google.

The No. 1 search engine served 65.8 percent of the searches through July, according to comScore.

Yahoo and Bing commanded 17.1 percent and 11 percent, respectively. Combined, their forces comprise nearly half of Google's market share.

While Microsoft is paying Yahoo 88 percent of traffic acquisition costs for the first five years of the deal, the agreement comes with some casualties.

Yahoo said it will shutter its SearchMonkey developer tool, application gallery and app preferences Oct. 1.

Launched in May 2008, SearchMonkey is the developer platform Yahoo released as part of its Yahoo Open Strategy to let programmers write widgets that boost the relevance of search results.

The platform was lauded by Web developers and industry watchers who cheer open Web standards and tools. Yahoo claimed that it enhanced results on more than 60 percent of Yahoo search results pages.

A common example of an enhanced search for a restaurant includes images of the restaurant, links to reviews and photos, and abstracts with ratings, addresses and other info.

Yahoo promised to continue offering enhanced results to users as it moves organic search listings to Microsoft, and will add new people, Q&A and real estate "entities" for its search engine.

The SearchMonkey development platform clearly does not fit into the plans of Microsoft, whose Bing team does not share the same open Web platform approach to search.

Accordingly, custom result apps, infobar apps and data services from third-party developers will no longer appear on Yahoo's search results.