Yahoo Search opens to third-party developers

The Microsoft acquisition target announces plans to support semantic Web standards and open its search platform to third parties. Will it be a hit with Web developers?

Elinor Mills Former Staff Writer
Elinor Mills covers Internet security and privacy. She joined CNET News in 2005 after working as a foreign correspondent for Reuters in Portugal and writing for The Industry Standard, the IDG News Service and the Associated Press.
Elinor Mills

Yahoo announced on Thursday that it is opening up its search platform to third-party developers. The company also says it will be supporting the semantic Web.


Yahoo plans to hold a developer launch party at its Sunnyvale, Calif., campus in coming weeks. It will launch a beta test program for a tool that developers can use to write applications that integrate Yahoo Search. Such applications use the structured data available through public APIs and in the Yahoo index, Amir Kumar, director of product management at Yahoo Search, wrote in a blog post.

For the consumer, Yahoo's move means more direct connections to Yahoo Search results, and a better overall search experience, on various Web applications.

"For example, by marking up its profile pages with microformats, LinkedIn can allow Yahoo Search and others to understand the semantic content and the relationships of the many components of its site," Kumar writes. "With a richer understanding of LinkedIn's structured data included in our index, we will be able to present users with more compelling and useful search results for their site."

For the true geeks: Yahoo initially plans to support microformats such as hCard, hCalendar, hReview, hAtom, and XFN; will support vocabulary components from Dublin Core, Creative Commons, FOAF, GeoRSS, MediaRSS; and will support RDFa and eRDF markup to embed these into existing HTML pages. Yahoo also will be supporting the OpenSearch specification.

This is all an extension to the open-search idea Yahoo began talking about a few weeks ago.