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Yahoo Debuts Search APIs 149

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the stepping-up-the-search-race dept.
Dotnaught writes "With its planned introduction on Tuesday of new search APIs and a developer network, Yahoo aims to tap the creativity of the open source community. As the current issue of Wired points out, "Yahoo makes more money and has more patents, services and users than Google." Will nurturing a developer community have any impact on Yahoo's competitive position against Google and Microsoft?"
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Yahoo Debuts Search APIs

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  • Hmm... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @10:23AM (#11812000)

    Yahoo makes more money and has more patents...

    Yeah, they sure do know how to get on open-source developers' good sides, don't they...

    • Parent comment is both funny and insightful. Kudos, AC did it again.
    • On a more serious note though, this API is horse shit. It uses proprietary XML schemas to for results. I would have preferred an SOAP based API instead. Yes, yes, soap has much more overhead but come on, it is more universal and I'd take that measly overhead any day.
  • Uses of API (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nsasch (827844) on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @10:24AM (#11812009)
    I kept a blog for a while that used some Google API to get some statistics. I never found a need for anything near accuracy in the results. I think the results that API bring, won't require a preference of one search engine versus another. If Google API is already being used, unless there are needed features, not many people will probably switch over.
    • The API isnt only used for casual statistics. I imagine its used for 'related links' type of stuff in applications, or mapping links around the web etc.

      When the results are all that an API has to offer the end client, surely the quality and accuracy of such results is a factor. In fact, if there are no difference in features, surely the accuracy of the results would *be* the deciding factor. Its not just about getting people to switch, but also people that arent currently using either.

      There were plenty of
  • More users ? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Choron (88276) on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @10:24AM (#11812010)
    I'm surprised Yahoo has a larger user base than Google. All the people I talk to have given up using Yahoo and use Google all the time, including me.
    As for this API, that's a nice move but too late in my opinion, unless they have some serious advantage compared to Google's but some reason I doubt it.
    • All the people I talk to have given up using Yahoo and use Google all the time, including me.

      I'm betting that's because all the people you talk to are reasonably savvy in this area (like yourself), and thus do not represent a typical cross-section of the population.

      Yahoo has a much larger following among less-tech-savvy folks...it seems to occupy the area between Google and AOL (in terms of users, not services offered).
    • Re:More users ? (Score:5, Informative)

      by krgallagher (743575) on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @10:38AM (#11812109) Homepage
      "I'm surprised Yahoo has a larger user base than Google. All the people I talk to have given up using Yahoo and use Google all the time, including me."

      While that is true for most searches, I still use them for mail, maps, and directions. I see a lot of people who use yahoo. Yahoo has been around a long time and they are well known by non-tech savvy people. My seventy-five year old mother is a good example of this. When her computer was installed, MSN was her start page. It still is and she uses it for her searching. I've thought of changing it for her, but it is what she is used to and she is happy with it.

      "As for this API, that's a nice move but too late in my opinion, unless they have some serious advantage compared to Google's but some reason I doubt it."

      Well according to the article:
      "What Yahoo is offering, Walther contends, is much broader than what's offered by the competition. In a literal sense, that's true: Each API provides developers with access to 5,000 queries per day per API, five times more than the limits placed on users of the Google Web API. "We don't just have a Web search API," he explains. "We have Web, local, news video, image, and spelling, among others." And, he says, YSDN is about more than APIs; it's about the development community."

      That is a lot of features, and the higher limit is cool too. I would bet that Google matches or exceeds them in the near future though.

      • Re:More users ? (Score:2, Informative)

        by menem (533901)
        You mentioned you use Yahoo for maps. Try maps.google.com and you will never go back.
        • "Try maps.google.com and you will never go back." Sold! Thank you for the tip. It really is a great site!
        • You mentioned you use Yahoo for maps. Try maps.google.com and you will never go back.

          Don't care for it, myself. Too much download-slowing eye candy. The little "push pin" things with the shadows are ugly.

          I also don't care for the driving directions interface; it's one line address format and results format seem like poor UI choices.

          I'm sticking with Yahoo Maps, at least for now.

        • Actually I like maps24.com's interactive interface better than google maps. I still find mapsonus.com to have the best what's nearby and search by landmark capability
      • This is pretty cool, but what would be killer would be the ability to query Yahoo Finance 5000 times a day. Does anyone know of a large(-ish) source of financial data that's free for the hobby developer?
    • Re:More users ? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Laurentiu (830504)
      I do believe their user base numbers are biased. Back when Yahoo was "the thing" (they even had free POP3 on their mail service, I thought that was SO COOL), everyone and their dog had e-mail accounts on Yahoo. As in "more than one" account. Not only for multiple identities, but also for overcoming the limit in storage.

      Besides, having a "large user base" has nothing to do with the quality of developers you are able to attract. AOL has a large user base, how many /.ers would even consider doing development
    • I still have them as my homepage.

      I like having a glance at the news and sport and other stuff.

      Firefox has a handy google box for my searching needs :)
    • I suspect that it is because people play Yahoo! Games for hours, are a member of a Yahoo! Group, get quotes from Yahoo! Finance, etc... Yahoo offers many more services besides searching.
    • Re:More users ? (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I'm surprised Yahoo has a larger user base than Google. All the people I talk to have given up using Yahoo and use Google all the time, including me.

      I was using Google exclusively until recently. You might want to search on more than one search engine in case you're looking for something a little obscure. If you're looking for a reasonably "popular" (whatever that might mean in the internet context) phrase/word, then the chances are that any search engine is good for you. There will be a significant over
    • Re:More users ? (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Google's offering (1,000 queries per ID key) makes their API unsuitable for use with Open Source applications; you can't embed the ID in a popular project and release it.

      Yahoo's offering OTOH allows 5,000 queries *PER IP*, and *UNLIMITED* per application ID. The App ID is only used to keep tabs on where the queries originate, and isn't used to limit requests.

      But then you didn't read the article, did you?
  • by eth8686 (793978)
    I really somehow doubt that Yahoo has a bigger userbase than Google. Can someone correct me?
    • Re:Doubt (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MikeDX (560598)
      I would imagine yahoo has the bigger userbase (registered). I know 10x more people with yahoo addresses than gmail addresses and thats only within my so called nerdy friends. Add non-nerdy people such as family and even by conducting a local poll, I would guess yahoo outnumbers google membership by at least 5:1. Depends who they are counting and whos figures they are using. You can prove anything with fancy charts and ratios.
    • Re:Doubt (Score:4, Insightful)

      by KenBot_314 (744719) on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @10:32AM (#11812060)
      Yahoo is not just a search engine. I know lots of people that automatically think of sites like maps.yahoo.com, or autos.yahoo.com, or finance.yahoo.com, or anything_that_I_need_to_do_online.yahoo.com instead of other services... Yahoo is still strong in a lot of fields.
      • Yeah, I'm in an bike club that uses yahoo for it's membership mailing list-- it's apparently one of the appeals of the club, even the the S/N ratio is pretty low most of the time. For a long time I automatically sorted the list to trash, but other people apparently join just for the list.

        I also use yahoo for domains (I have a small number and it was convenient way back when competitive registrars were just coming into existence), but am in the process of switching because their customer service isn't very
        • Speaking of lists, I had been using Yahoo for ad hoc groups for class groupwork. The list setup, web access, and file storage is exactly what I need for most projects. Lately however, Yahoo has been randomly eating files, which is very bad for getting work done.

          Are there any other sites that offer the same service free, perhaps with an easier signup process as well?
    • Re:Doubt (Score:2, Interesting)

      by telecsan (170227)
      You underestimate the power of mass numbers of users with Yahoo! Mail accounts. Yes, among the tech-savvy group, Google usage is dominant. However, Yahoo still has longevity and familiarity on its side, and there are many less savvy users for whom Google offers no 'significant' benefit to make it worth the switch.
      • Re:Doubt (Score:3, Insightful)

        by sapped (208174)
        You underestimate the power of mass numbers of users with Yahoo! Mail accounts. Yes, among the tech-savvy group, Google usage is dominant. However, Yahoo still has...

        That's the whole point. API's are aimed at the tech-savvy group.
  • Yahoo is HUGE. By having a developer's community not only will it attract all the geeks from /. but also tap into the infinite intelligence that is not tied to any corporate world
  • Yahoo (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Stevyn (691306)
    Yahoo may have more services, but their interface is so cluttered it's difficult to find them. Compare Google's home page to Yahoo's. If you are just interested in a simple search, Google is great. If you are interested in more services, click the "more" link and then you see the services nicely laid out. Yahoo's home page, on the other hand, is so cluttered I get dizzy just looking for the "Weather" link. Alright, well, not dizzy, but it takes a few seconds.
    • Re:Yahoo (Score:2, Interesting)

      by nsasch (827844)
      and probably the only reason Google has a simple home page is the same reason it started that way, the authors didn't know how to do HTML. Just be glad we have the Google Search button, that wasn't there at first, 'Enter' was the only way to search.
    • Re:Yahoo (Score:5, Informative)

      by shird (566377) on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @10:48AM (#11812182) Homepage Journal
      You should be comparing the http://search.yahoo.com/ site instead. It is pretty much identical to google.
      • You are right, of course, But the point I feel the poster is trying to make is that Google put their spartan search page as their homepage, and Yahoo hide it away.

        Googles UI is just easier to take in.

        Compare Google [google.com] to Yahoo [yahoo.com].
        Yahoo squeezes as much information in the screen as it possibly can, which is bad design, whereas Google try to keep it simple. [Lots of whitespace]

        [Also try comparing their directory services Google [google.com] with Yahoo [yahoo.com]. Remember that Yahoo started out as a directory. It is amusing to me to se
    • Re:Yahoo (Score:3, Informative)

      by AstroDrabb (534369)
      Not only that, but Yahoo still favors IE for a lot of their content. I switched all my searches to Google and switched from Yahoo Mail to GMail because of that. For example, Yahoo! Mail has a feature that lets you do some rich text entry instead of plain text. However it only works in IE 5.5+. Mozilla/Firefox support rich text editing, so why leave out those browsers? There are plenty of cross-browser rich text editors out there, even an Open Source cross-browser richtext editor called FCKeditor [fckeditor.net]. It w
  • Higher limit (Score:5, Interesting)

    by whitelines (715819) on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @10:30AM (#11812043) Homepage
    The web search limit is 5,000. Hopefully this will push google to increase theirs.
    http://developer.yahoo.net/web/V1/webSearch.html [yahoo.net]
    • Re:Higher limit (Score:3, Informative)

      by endx7 (706884)
      Not only is the limit in general higher, but it's based on the "caller" IP instead of the developer account.
    • I just sifted through their site to find this - then saw your comment.

      Why would Yahoo make this hard to find?

    • Re:Higher limit (Score:3, Interesting)

      by fiftyfly (516990)
      I certainly hope so. I've toyed with the google API for a number of things but the one 'toy' that gets smacked around a lot is a related: links [edey.org] spider. A trivial idea that everyone and their dog did when the API was new. The problem is that since every URI is unique, and the googlebot became rather stupid in the middle of jan, I've been getting 3-4000 requests for (basically) the same bloody page every day. The googlebot isn't smart enough, apparently, to see it's GETting the same page with different parame
    • Maybe Google will do the same thing they did with Gmail - offer 250 times the space of the next leading email provider. In this case, they'd have to offer 250 * 5000 [google.com] = 1,250,000 searches per day. Get to it!
  • ok... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by PhilippeT (697931)
    "Yahoo makes more money and has more patents, services and users than Google." - I haven't checked but are they still using google tech for half those services? and has for having more users. Considering some ISP's have partnerships with Yahoo and set the users homepage to Yahoo... and we all know how the average user doesn't even know how to change their homepage to something they actually want.
    • I haven't checked but are they still using google tech for half those services?

      some ISP's have partnerships with Yahoo and set the users homepage to Yahoo... and we all know how the average user doesn't even know how to change their homepage to something they actually want.

      If this was the case for google.com, would you say the same thing? Why would someone want google.com to be their homepage? There's nothing there. You might as well have a blank page. Don't you people do anything on the internet but sea

    • Re:ok... (Score:2, Informative)

      Yahoo hasn't used any Google technology for over a year. Specifically, Yahoo replaced Google search with its own last February. Since then, Yahoo's share of the search market has actually increased. The latest figures from comScore [searchenginewatch.com] show Google handling 35% of search queries and Yahoo handling 32%.
  • I for one love what google has recently done by integrating their search functionality with their new maps, and I can see the potential for incredibly useful websites using API's like this. Yahoo needs to have a good product here if they have any hope of regaining users in the search engine category. On a related note, I am surprised that Microsoft didn't release something thing similar with the re-launch of their improved search engine. Might a release be coming soon?
  • Nutch (Score:5, Informative)

    by reality-bytes (119275) on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @10:37AM (#11812108) Homepage
    There is already a fairly scalable complete FOSS search-engine called Nutch [nutch.org] which can (in theory) scale from an 'in website' search engine to a full-blown google-style search site.

    I wonder if Yahoo are offering as much source access and simmilar licencing terms to this? (It appears from the articles that the APIs are purely for interaction with the Yahoo site).
  • 12 year head start (Score:3, Insightful)

    by whoda (569082) on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @10:39AM (#11812111) Homepage
    "Will nurturing a developer community have any impact on Yahoo's competitive position against Google and Microsoft?"

    Too bad Yahoo didn't try this 10-12 years ago, before Google existed, and while Microsoft was still claiming the internet was a fad.
    It might have even worked then, it doens't have much chance now, the others will just copy whatever Yahoo does that hppens to work.
    • 12 years ago, there was no Yahoo (and, depending on definition, no web to speak of, so an interface to web searches and categories would have been a funny thing, that's for sure). You don't start and build a user base by providing a rich API. You start by providing a web site...
  • by blackhedd (412389) on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @10:40AM (#11812120)
    Why on earth would any intelligent, well-motivated and talented hacker want to work for Yahoo/Google/IBM/Sun/whoever WITHOUT getting a salary from them? All of these companies that are talking about tapping the capabilities and intelligence of the "community" must think we have no intelligence at all!
    It's the same thing with open-sourcing Solaris. Anybody who is talented and enthusiastic enough to make serious contributions to a major search engine or operating system should be doing it to benefit the whole community, not just to make some major corporation even richer.
    We already know about the open alternatives to Solaris. Where is the open and free alternative to Yahoo? I'll contribute time and money to it!
    • because they don't want to write their own API and wants to grab those free stuff???
    • by Anonymous Coward
      The trouble with creating an "open and free" alternative to your typical portal's services is that the data is not particularly easy to collect in an open way.

      For example, search requires massive bandwidth for your crawlers. Even if you try to distribute this, somebody has to buy the servers and bandwith that collates the results coming in from 8 billion or so pages. And you then have to deal with the problems of people deliberately sending in inaccurate indexes, and having a ranking algorithm that SEOs kn
      • You make a number of very interesting points. The key insight is that hard, physical resources need to be provisioned for servers and bandwidth. The only large-scale counterexamples I can think of are BitTorrent, Gnutella and SETI. Can this kind of community provisioning work for a free/open search system? I'd sure like to know, what does everyone think?

        Your objections about the business model (personal ads) are less germane, I think. Those issues go away if you don't need to run the service to make money.
    • Why on earth would any intelligent, well-motivated and talented hacker want to work for Yahoo/Google/IBM/Sun/whoever WITHOUT getting a salary from them?

      Because there are some programmers, like me, who code because it is a hobby and do code regardless of being paid. The challenge of producing good code is often enough reward. Making money from a hobby is a happy bonus.
    • by gorbachev (512743) on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @12:47PM (#11813257) Homepage
      If I want to use one of these APIs to create something cool for my own website or my own education and entertainment, should I ask Yahoo/Google for money? Wake up.
      • If I want to use one of these APIs to create something cool for my own website or my own education and entertainment, should I ask Yahoo/Google for money? Wake up.

        Would you give it back to the company and help tailor it to their needs? Thats what the companies want. Amazon offers cash for people who do this with web services, while Yahoo! & Google don't.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Who said that any developers are being to recruited to write stuff that will get handed back to Yahoo for their use?

      These are APIs to access Yahoos resources/services from YOUR application (should you choose to make one).

      Let's say you're making a website or application... Want to be able to provide stock quotes, or weather forecasts, etc from within your app? Then you have the option of using the Yahoo APIs to pull that info into your app.

      They're trying to get more people to use their stuff.
  • Yahoo and Python (Score:2, Interesting)

    by szlevente (705483)
    It's interesting that Google, with a search engine mainly written in Pyton, does not offer examples in Python for their API, as Yahoo does. Just Java and .NET. Yahoo on the other side doesn't have .NET programming examples...however, it rides on the popularity of the other languages. Is Yahoo at war with Microsoft for censoring .NET? I'm sure there are lots of .NET experts at Yahoo...
    • Google is written in Python?? That's news to me. I'd say its more likely they use C & C++ for most of their stuff.
    • Writing Google's search engine in Python would be like writing a supercomputer weather simulation in Visual Basic.
    • Re:Yahoo and Python (Score:3, Informative)

      by treerex (743007)

      Google's search engine is not written in Python. They write a lot of tools and supplemental applications in Python, but the code is decidedly not in an interpreted language, no matter how studly.

      It is interesting, however, that they do not include samples in Python but do include .NET and Java. But think about it: I'm sure their target developer is one who is integrating this into an application. Also note that the Google API is SOAP based, and perhaps at the time they released the SDK originally the Pyth

  • All REST, no SOAP. Bravo!

    developer.yahoo.net/faq/
  • by Shoten (260439) on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @11:02AM (#11812294)
    We've gained exclusive access to the future of Yahoo, and are proud to give you the first ever look into the brilliant things being developed even now, as we speak, by this cutting-edge portal search engine! All the details right here! [google.com]
    • Actually, take a look at what Google's added lately...

      Maps (maps.yahoo.com)
      Movie reviews (movies.yahoo.com)
      Froogle (shopping.yahoo.com)
      Webmail (mail.yahoo.com)

      And they have an IM client rumored.

      Who's copying whom?

      When Google starts streaming music you can officially call them Yoogle.

      At least when Yahoo rolls something out it doesn't stay in "Beta" status indefinitely.

      Carl

      • Are you really trying to say that Yahoo has been more innovative than Google in the past few years? Stop and think before you answer that...just look at their mail functions. Yahoo was a "me too" mail function that they acquired by buying another company, while Google developed their own system that revolutionized webmail. When did Yahoo and Hotmail decide to offer enormous mailbox capacity...before, or after Google did?
        • Has Yahoo been more innovative than Google in the past few years? Perhaps not. Has Yahoo been more innovative than Google in the past 10 years? Well that's obvious.

          All I know is that I've been using maps.yahoo.com, yp.yahoo.com, movies.yahoo.com, etc. for countless years before I'd even heard of Google.

          Outside of Yahoo/Google, babelfish.altavista.com was great. Of course Yahoo owns it now, but I'm speaking for the original creation.

          What I'm trying to say is that you'd think from reading posts around
  • There are a few questions that will need answering before the Open Source community will support Yahoo in this.

    Will Yahoo make their source code and work freely available under the GPL or other Open Source licensing?
    If the answer is no, I don't see the Open Source community submitting a hill of beans toward the benefit of Yahoo's IPO.
    If the answer is yes, how will this benefit Yahoo in competing with Microsoft and Google?
  • by btbytes (625362) on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @11:16AM (#11812428) Homepage
    This guy has already built a prototype Image search tool [swaroopch.info] using the Y! API.
  • This is why competition is good! I always like trying out new things, and the competition between Yahoo! and Google seems to be giving rise to some new toys for me to play with. So I'll definitely be taking a look at the Yahoo! Search APIs. One thing I love about the release of APIs like this is that it allows you to build the site/tools that you want. So if you hate Yahoo!'s homepage, etc.., this is a chance to build something better. And everyone wins!
  • by sootman (158191) on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @12:05PM (#11812872) Homepage Journal
    "Yahoo makes more money and has more patents, services and users than Google."

    Yeah, all Google has is better search results. :-)
  • ...you grant to Yahoo! [yahoo.net] all rights to use and incorporate such contents in the Yahoo! APIs or any other Yahoo! product or service without compensation to you and without further recourse by you.

    What a load of bollocks.

    • Nice out of context snip. Let's put that in context to see what it really means:

      "The contents of any email you send will be subject to these Terms of Use and to the Yahoo! TOS, and you grant to Yahoo! all rights to use and incorporate such contents in the Yahoo! APIs or any other Yahoo! product or service without compensation to you and without further recourse by you."

      So, if you send a question to Yahoo regarding the Yahoo APIs, you grant Yahoo all rights to the content of that email.
  • From their TOS [yahoo.net]:
    YOU SHALL NOT...use the Yahoo! APIs to operate nuclear facilities...

    There was an adage in the Air Force that all the written technical rules we had to follow (like "wearing a parachute or restraint harness near an open door is required when in flight") came from some poor sap not having the common sense to do these things on their own and dying or becoming disfigured in some stupendous manner.
    I wonder if the same thing is true with Yahoo's TOS'.

  • I eagerly read through their API documentation, thinking it could be usefull.

    The "news" api just returns the news headlines, with a link to the story. Isn't that what RSS already does?

    Calling it an API instead of RSS gets people all excited.
  • This is cool... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by eries (71365) <slashdot-eric.sneakemail@com> on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @02:41PM (#11814487) Homepage
    if you're looking to try it out, want to come help port gvcard (http://gvcard.sf.net/ [sf.net]) to use Yahoo Local as well as Google Local?

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