Yahoo is taking the next step in its “open” strategy with the launch of BOSS: Build your Own Search Service. The BOSS program will allow third parties to build their own search engine using Yahoo’s index and ranking methodologies as a base.Using the BOSS APIs, partners will be able to take Yahoo’s search results and apply their own ranking criteria, creating their own customized search engine. The BOSS API is based on Yahoo’s full index of Web search, news and image search results, as well as spell correction.There are three levels to the BOSS program.
The first is a self-service API, which will be available to partners who want to build their own search engine using Yahoo results as a base. Examples could include social, vertical, or visual search engines. The second is an API program for academics, dubbed BOSS University. Yahoo is partnering with the computer science departments of several top universities to allow them to use the BOSS program in their research. Yahoo will also offer partners the BOSS Mashup Framework, a software library that provides tools for data joins and other tasks. It will also offer some ready-made SERP templates, which partners will be able to customize for themselves. Since Yahoo is not in control of the way partners rank results, it has made it clear that these BOSS results are not allowed to be attributed to Yahoo.