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August 17, 2010

Important API Updates and Changes

Today we’re making some important announcements on the transition of our Search back-end infrastructure to Microsoft, and how this transition impacts the Search APIs and web services we offer on the Yahoo! Developer Network. We are also sharing specific news about several of our other developer services.

Over recent years, Yahoo! has made a commitment to developers by opening products, services, and canvases for third-party innovation. This commitment remains unwavering. For example, we recently announced new canvases and APIs as part of our Zynga deal. At the same time, we have to align our developer offerings with our products and strategy.

Yahoo! Search BOSS

Search remains critical to Yahoo! and we’re happy to announce that we will continue to offer the BOSS program (Build your Own Search Service). In the not too distant future, BOSS will provide web and image search results from Microsoft along with other search-related services and content from Yahoo!, such as news. In the next 30 days, we will announce the specific details about how BOSS will evolve. We are exploring a potential fee-based structure as well as ad-revenue models that will enable BOSS developers to monetize their offerings. When we roll out these changes, BOSS will no longer be a free service to developers.

To all the current users of BOSS, we appreciate your patience as we continue to work through the details. We know BOSS is important to your business and we promise to give ample notice before we change any usage terms. In addition, Yahoo! plans to deliver new search-related offerings to publishers in the coming months, and we will share those details as soon as they are available.

YQL (Yahoo! Query Language)

As described back in April, we are moving to YQL-based services wherever possible. This has long-term benefits for developers: YQL is reliable, scalable, cloud-based, and easy-to-use. YQL eliminates the need to learn multiple APIs while providing the same functionality. We are also preparing to roll out a new commercial program for developers focused on our social platforms and YQL.

YQL is a key element of Yahoo!’s infrastructure – it’s the way that the Yahoo! Homepage, Search, and other high-traffic, global Yahoo! products get their data. We rely on this technology and we’re committed to making it scalable and continuously available for you.

Several search-related web services will continue to be supported, but strictly through YQL. These include the Yahoo! Term Extraction Web Service, Related Suggestion, and Spelling Suggestion. Other non-BOSS search APIs such as Web Search, Image Search, News Search and Site Explorer APIs will shut down with no further support in YQL. We plan to make these transitions and shutdowns effective by end of year.


On October 1, 2010, we will close the SearchMonkey developer tool, gallery, and app preferences. Yahoo! Search is continuing to shift from a model where developers build lightweight apps to install on Yahoo! to one where publishers enhance their own site markup to produce similar results. Yahoo! Search results pages will continue to show enhanced result templates from websites’ page markup and structured data feeds along with Microsoft’s organic listings.

Site Explorer

The Yahoo! Site Explorer team is planning tighter integration between Site Explorer and Bing Webmaster Center to make the transition as smooth as possible for webmasters. At this stage in the transition, it is important for webmasters to continue using Yahoo! Site Explorer to inform us about your website and its structure so you keep getting high quality traffic from searches originating on Yahoo! and our partner sites – even from markets outside the US and Canada that haven’t yet transitioned to Microsoft systems. To keep things simple, we will share site information you provide on Site Explorer with Microsoft during this transition period.

When Microsoft fully powers the Yahoo! Search back-end globally, expected in 2012, it will be important for webmasters to use Bing Webmaster Center as well. The Bing tool will manage site, webpage and feed submissions. Yahoo! Site Explorer will shift to focus on new features for webmasters that provide richer analysis of the organic search traffic you get from the Yahoo! network and our partner sites.

Maps, Geo, and Local

Location-based services are an essential element in web app development. We will be evaluating all our Geo, Maps, and Local APIs--updating or shutting down some of them, and working with our strategic partner, Nokia, on others. We will work with our developer community to ensure a smooth transition in all instances and we will share more details about these decisions in September.


The future of MyBlogLog has been uncertain for some time, as we discussed back in December. The day has come, however, to shut down the MyBlogLog APIs. By the end of the year, these APIs will no longer be available. We encourage you to turn to our well-supported Social APIs. The Yahoo! network now relies on this Social platform to power user profiles and social graph, relationships, activity streams, and more.

The Web has changed a lot since 2005 when YDN launched as the home for Yahoo!’s Search APIs, and so has our business. We know you’ve built amazing products atop our technology stack and we will do our best to provide the greatest transparency and smoothest possible transition.

We will use YQL as our core foundation for APIs moving forward, and stay focused on making good, valuable data open and accessible to developers. We will continue to share key technologies, such as front-end libraries like YUI and cloud services like Hadoop and Traffic Server.

Neal Sample photo by Niall KennedyNeal Sample
VP of Social, Open, & Publishing Platforms

Neal Sample photo by Niall Kennedy

Posted at August 17, 2010 12:00 PM | Permalink

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"..Other non-BOSS search APIs such as Web Search, Image Search, News Search and Site Explorer APIs will shut down with no further support in YQL.."

Can someone clarify if the above statement refers to the original YDN API via "http://api.search.yahoo.com/WebSearchService/V1/webSearch..."?


Posted by: Jiang Wu at August 17, 2010 10:58 AM

So, with the new BOSS API, will we be able to get results past the first 1K if we pay for them?

Posted by: Andrew at August 17, 2010 12:15 PM

@Jiang Wu
The API you are referring to is one of our legacy search APIs. I can confirm that it will be shut down in December. In the next few days, we'll update relevant API pages on the YDN site with shut down and transition information.

We’re working hard on the details of what the new revenue model for the BOSS program will be, and will share this information in the next 30 days. We appreciate your patience and will give ample notice before we change usage terms.

Posted by: Matthew Lock (YDN) at August 17, 2010 12:46 PM

I was building one free search engine based on BOSS APIS! BOSS has probably the most compressive and most easy to understand API of all search engines.

I invested time and energy to learn BOSS and other yahoo APIS and I'm pretty upset about your decision to simply kill all the wonderful yahoo apis. I think that Yahoo is making big mistake changing BOSS conditions and killing all other free apis.

Web 2.0 was born on principles of free web services, you are not just unplugging the servers you are also ending the web 2.0 movement.

Posted by: Vladimir Carrer at August 17, 2010 5:02 PM

I'm glad the BOSS API is going to be continued - thanks for the update!

Posted by: Achim at August 18, 2010 5:10 AM

You may be able to continue using YQL to get free search results. That wasn't specified in the release. The current YQL+BOSS experience doesn't allow some of the more advanced BOSS features, but it is good enough for most applications.

I have several search engines based on BOSS that would never pay for themselves. So I'm waiting for the final announcement as well.

Posted by: Ted DRAKE at August 18, 2010 9:00 AM

I, for one, am very sad that the last open Search API is going away. Yahoo BOSS has been an extremely valuable resource for researchers, experimenters, for some time. I had really hoped that it will not go away, and hope that MS will provide something similar in the near near future.

Posted by: Ed H. Chi at August 18, 2010 6:42 PM

Hi, what's about to continue to support inlink data like linkdomain:, link: and other relevant feature: search operators in BOSS due to the transition process to bing? There are many businesses out there, that are based on that kind of data...

Posted by: Pete at August 19, 2010 1:57 PM

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