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Yahoo's Build Your Own Search Service - BOSS
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Here is something that has some potential to take off. In an attempt to "deliver open, industry-leading platforms that attract the most publishers and developers", Yahoo announced the launch of BOSS (Build Your Own Search Service) yesterday. This is a follow up to Yahoo's late April announcement regarding the Yahoo! Open Strategy. The Yahoo Open Strategy was established to deliver open, industry-leading platforms that attract the most publishers and developers. According to Yahoo, they have "phenomenal technology platforms and data infrastructure" that they want to share with developers.

Yahoo BOSS is a web services platform that allows developers and companies to create and launch web-scale search products by utilizing the same infrastructure and technology that powers Yahoo! Search. The goal is to generate innovation in the search landscape. Personally I think that Yahoo does fairly well in terms of innovation. We all know how innovative Google is when it comes to Search. Microsoft... uh not so much, but Yahoo is in the middle and Yahoo BOSS is another step in driving innovation in Search.

Effective search is about relevancy and providing relevant results to the searcher. While the average search marketer and Webmaster continues to try and figure out the Google and Yahoo search algorithms, it becomes difficult for a new player in Search to emerge. The size and power of the Search giants simply make it difficult for a new search engine to emerge and obtain market share. However if we believe what Yahoo says about their Open Strategy, BOSS may just change all of this.

According to the official release, BOSS will allow 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. In essence, BOSS is an open platform that offers programmatic access to the Yahoo! Search index via an API. Removing many of the usage restrictions for developers, BOSS will:
  • Provide the ability to re-rank and blend results -BOSS partners can re-rank search results as they see fit and blend Yahoo!'s results with proprietary and other web content in a single search experience... yes you heard it right, re-rank results...
  • Offer total flexibility on presentation -- Freedom to present search results using any user interface paradigm, without Yahoo! branding or attribution requirements
  • BOSS Mashup Framework -- Yahoo is releasing a Python library and UI templates that allow developers to easily mashup BOSS search results with other public data sources
  • Blended Search - Through Web, news and image search, developers will have access to web, news and image search and we'll be adding more verticals soon
  • Unlimited queries -- There are no rate limits on the number of queries per day

BOSS will enable a range of fundamentally different search experiences for the user. There is huge potential with regards to relevancy. If this takes off (and why wouldn't it?) this could have huge implications for Search as we know it. Could this be a last ditch effort by Yahoo to gain market share on Google as an independent? I don't think so, this is bigger than that. BOSS really has the potential to change Search as we know it. To learn more about BOSS and get started using the API, visit the Yahoo! Developer Network.

For more information on Yahoo Build Your Own Search Service, visit:

Yahoo! BOSS An Insider View

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posted by Jody @ Thursday, July 10, 2008  
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