Yahoo Says Go Build Your Own Search Engine

Dennis Faas's picture

One-third of the long-running major search engine love triangle is now quite literally giving it away. Yahoo has launched what it calls an 'open search web services platform'. In effect, it's letting outside firms use its technology to run independent search engines. While that's been done before, this is the first time a major search group has made its technology available without any restrictions on what you do with it.

The Yahoo deal has no limits on how many searches you can offer each day, or how you order and present the results. And for the first time companies using Yahoo's search technology will be allowed to make money from it. However, they'll have to either split the cash with Yahoo or carry advertising sold by Yahoo. (Source:

According to the team behind the scheme (titled BOSS for 'Build Your Own Search Engine'), the idea is to "foster innovation in the search landscape". Some commentators have already interpreted that as a knock at Google, the implication being its domination of the search market has made it complacent about developing new ideas. (Source:

While Yahoo hasn't specifically said so, it's likely they'll be monitoring how people use BOSS and will effectively use it as a testing and developmental panel for new search tricks and tools. It's entirely possible Yahoo is planning to let other firms come up with new ideas and then buy the rights to them.

Several firms have already been using the BOSS service during a testing phrase. They include hakia, a 'semantic' search engine designed to answer questions rather than just look for keywords; Cluuz, which responds to searches with both results and suggestions for other phrases which may give more focused answers; and Me.dium, a toolbar which combines Yahoo results and data about what sites your friends and colleagues are visiting.

| Tags:
Rate this article: 
No votes yet