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Yahoo Debuts Search APIs

CmdrTaco posted more than 9 years ago | from the stepping-up-the-search-race dept.

The Internet 149

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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149 comments

search apis (0, Offtopic)

Klerck (213193) | more than 9 years ago | (#11811990)

more like search for gay pies

RATE PARENT UP (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11811998)

insightful.

Why is this rated down (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11812008)

Don't you stupid mods understand what he's saying? This is both insightful and funny. Typical /.

Yahoo still exists? (-1, Troll)

Cambrant (735036) | more than 9 years ago | (#11811993)

They are so 1995... Seriously though. How big is their userbase nowadays? Most of their services can now be found on MSN as well as Google, right?

Re:Yahoo still exists? (1)

Chris Kamel (813292) | more than 9 years ago | (#11812229)

You, me, and other /.ers may use google, the other 99.9% of the population is still locked on yahoo

Re:Yahoo still exists? (1)

rabbit994 (686936) | more than 9 years ago | (#11812389)

Ummm... no. Most people I know use google. Also, as I install firefox to more and more friends computers, google is becoming their default search engine because that's the firefox default is.

Re:Yahoo still exists? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11813232)

You miss the point that while Yahoo is now almost as large as Google in the search market, Search is just one of MANY services Yahoo offers. Mail, news, finncial data, personals, travel, shopping (incl. comparison shopping via Kelkoo - a Yahoo subsidiary), Launch (the biggest music destination site in the world), domain name registrar services, Yahoo Groups, Games, Chat, Geocities, Yahoo Messengers and a LOT of other services (see help.yahoo.com [yahoo.com] for a longer list) all help drive traffic.

A lot of your friends probably use Yahoo without even realising it through one of the long range of Yahoo services provided in partnership with other companies.

Add to that a few million users of Yahoo co-branded dial up and broadband services....

Re:Yahoo still exists? (1)

robertjw (728654) | more than 9 years ago | (#11812678)

Google is a search engine. Yahoo has become much more of a portal site with additional services.

Their webmail is good, their personals are good, their financial tracking is good, their news stories are interesting. I use it often just to check the market, read comics, catch up on the latest Paris Hilton scandal, etc... Of course, if I actually want to find anything or do anything useful I use Google.

Re:Yahoo still exists? (1)

SILIZIUMM (241333) | more than 9 years ago | (#11812525)

I use Yahoo for e-mail because I think their service is better than Hotmail. Some features on Yahoo Mail are quite neat and useful (to me), the agenda for example. Google and MSN does not offer that, AFAIK.

Re:Yahoo still exists? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11813458)

Really? When did Google add auctions, chat, im, finance data, games, music streaming (Launch), webhosting (Geocities), classifieds, dating site, recruiting (Hotjobs), calendar, file storage, private groups, a movie site, personal portal site w/RSS reader (My Yahoo), photo albums, a weather service, TV listings, sports results and news, auctions and chat, just to mention a few?

I still keep coming across new services I didn't have the faintest idea existed, but which still have tens or hundreds of thousands of active users - it all adds up rather quickly.

(I work for Yahoo, btw.)

Hmm... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#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...

Re:Hmm... (1)

saden1 (581102) | more than 9 years ago | (#11813441)

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.

Competition.. (0, Troll)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 9 years ago | (#11812001)

Spurs Innovation!

This is certainly a good thing, Maybe now Google and Microsoft will also release their search APIs.

Re:Competition.. (4, Interesting)

treerex (743007) | more than 9 years ago | (#11812026)

Google released their APIs [google.com] years ago. Unfortunately they don't update them as often as one would like, such as adding better support for East Asian and RTL languages.

In Completely Unrelated News (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11812007)

Jef Raskin dies [raskincenter.org] at age 61.

Uses of API (5, Interesting)

nsasch (827844) | more than 9 years ago | (#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.

Re:Uses of API (1)

shird (566377) | more than 9 years ago | (#11812515)

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 search engines before google, yet people switched over in droves because of the accuracy of the results.

More users ? (5, Insightful)

Choron (88276) | more than 9 years ago | (#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.

Re:More users ? (3, Insightful)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 9 years ago | (#11812051)

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 ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11812059)

i would have to say most older users prefer yahoo it seems... i work for a company where most of the employees are over 40, and none of them use google... most often its yahoo....

Re:More users ? (4, Informative)

krgallagher (743575) | more than 9 years ago | (#11812109)

"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 ? (2, Informative)

menem (533901) | more than 9 years ago | (#11812247)

You mentioned you use Yahoo for maps. Try maps.google.com and you will never go back.

Re:More users ? (1)

krgallagher (743575) | more than 9 years ago | (#11812424)

"Try maps.google.com and you will never go back." Sold! Thank you for the tip. It really is a great site!

Re:More users ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11812632)

Easy to go back...
Google maps doesn't have traffic reports..
Or easy ways of locating many different types of business. just alot of eye candy.
If you're into eye candy...Use google maps..
if you're into usefulness...Use yahoo maps..

Re:More users ? (1)

peter_gzowski (465076) | more than 9 years ago | (#11812553)

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 ? (3, Insightful)

Laurentiu (830504) | more than 9 years ago | (#11812134)

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 for free for AOL? The high-tech and university crowds were won over by Google years ago, with a simple, fast and ad-free interface, doubled by excelent service. Even when Google wasn't around, Altavista was the search engine of choice, not Yahoo.

And remember, folks, this new "open-source-friendly" Yahoo is the same one that went through the "messenger wars" last year, trying to keep ad-free instant messengers like GAIM and Trillian out of their networks. I for one will sit back, relax, and stick with Google.

Yahoo and spam? (1)

RobotWisdom (25776) | more than 9 years ago | (#11812470)

Didn't Yahoo used to sell email addresses to spammers?

That's my main reason for avoiding Yahoo, but it's been so long my memory is vague.

Re:Yahoo and spam? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11813155)

Apart from being highly illegal under data privacy regulations in large part of the world, it's also complete bullshit.

Re:More users ? (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 9 years ago | (#11812146)

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 :)

Re:More users ? (1)

The-Perl-CD-Bookshel (631252) | more than 9 years ago | (#11812396)

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 ? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11813145)

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 overlap in the top matches returned by Yahoo or Google.

While we're on the subject of obscure topics, it also seems to me that a Google search is not that trustworthy anymore. I once read some newspaper articles in an Indian newspaper [hindu.com] which referred to a couple of Indian musicians. A few months ago, I wanted to check if these articles were online and Google did point me to them. Today a Google search [google.com] doesn't work whereas a Yahoo! search [yahoo.com] does. Since Yahoo! points you to the right links, it can't be that the newspaper doesn't want its content to be indexed. So either the Google index doesn't have this or the newspaper's been blacklisted by Google for some reason.

Doubt (1)

eth8686 (793978) | more than 9 years ago | (#11812013)

I really somehow doubt that Yahoo has a bigger userbase than Google. Can someone correct me?

Re:Doubt (3, Insightful)

MikeDX (560598) | more than 9 years ago | (#11812052)

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 (4, Insightful)

KenBot_314 (744719) | more than 9 years ago | (#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.

Re:Doubt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11812092)

great point on the yahoo finance, im still surprised google hasnt come out with something similar... i would love better searching for financial information than just yahoo finance

Re:Doubt (1)

bitingduck (810730) | more than 9 years ago | (#11812465)

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 good (answered a question that I didn't ask, while NetSol got it right the first time, and already had a process in place to solve it), and they have the "extra-double-secret" password that I can never remember and takes a phone call to a number that never gets answered to reset it.

Re:Doubt (2, Interesting)

telecsan (170227) | more than 9 years ago | (#11812147)

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 (2, Insightful)

sapped (208174) | more than 9 years ago | (#11812342)

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.

Re:Doubt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11812928)

yahoo mail accounts are meaningless.

google as a search, well that is already a part of popculture.

google hasnt been just for geeks in a few years. look around, most people use it (or MSN search)

yahoo is a distant third.

Re:Doubt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11813370)

So you think so, huh?

Hitwise [searchenginewatch.com] for one doesn't agree with you, listing Yahoo! Search as second, before MSN for search visits. Add in Portal visits, and Yahoo is a clear first, with My Yahoo! even entering the list as number 3 (after Yahoo! and MSN). Combine the two categories, and Yahoo makes up about 45% of all visits to search and portal sites, with MSN second at around 18%, and Google third.

Looking at Europe, according to Nielsen, neither Google nor Yahoo Searchwere first for search [searchenginewatch.com] in any of the major markets in 2003. That might have changed over the last year and a half, though.

Worldwide, according to Nielsen results from December 2004 [searchenginewatch.com] , Google had about 45% of the search market, and Yahoo about 38% when you include the Overture and Altavista subsidiaries (32% without them), with MSN trailing at 25%.

Community is important (2, Insightful)

Virtual Karma (862416) | more than 9 years ago | (#11812017)

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 (1, Insightful)

Stevyn (691306) | more than 9 years ago | (#11812022)

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 (2, Interesting)

nsasch (827844) | more than 9 years ago | (#11812080)

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 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11812159)

Using Yahoo search API's will allow you to make your own pages to suit your personal tastes with minimal graphics, sound, etc.
Thanks for showing why Yahoo API's are so needed.
;)

Re:Yahoo (5, Informative)

shird (566377) | more than 9 years ago | (#11812182)

You should be comparing the http://search.yahoo.com/ site instead. It is pretty much identical to google.

Re:Yahoo (1)

coder.keitaro (861991) | more than 9 years ago | (#11812776)

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 see that Googles directory service looks identical to Yahoo's circa 1997.]

Re:Yahoo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11813114)

Now guess who generates more clicks and more advertising revenue per user?

(Hint: It's not Google)

Yahoo is the way it is because they've spent 10 years finding the ways to generate the most pageviews per user visit and the most revenue per pageview.

Re:Yahoo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11812278)

check out http://my.yahoo.com/ [yahoo.com]

logon and make your own personalized home page you can make it as lean or rich as you want, i made mine have comics (same as newspapers) and a few news feeds...

Re:Yahoo (2, Informative)

AstroDrabb (534369) | more than 9 years ago | (#11813035)

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 works with plain HTML, ASP, PHP, JSP and others. I also always have problems getting the news video clips to play on Yahoo!. Yahoo! always tries to default to Windows Meadia even though I keep setting my prefs to Real.

Things like I listed above is why I left Yahoo! for Google.

Re:Yahoo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11813525)

I find Yahoo's website to be very organized and easy to work with. I can find all their services will relative ease. I'm very happy with their site.

Does this mean (-1, Flamebait)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 9 years ago | (#11812033)

Does this mean the oh-so-terrible Yahoo search powered Sourceforge will finally get better searching capabilities?

ok... (2, Insightful)

PhilippeT (697931) | more than 9 years ago | (#11812047)

"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.

Re:ok... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11813080)

Yahoo! switched to a its own search technology last year, after which Yahoo search has been steadily gaining market share.

Re:ok... (1)

Ars-Fartsica (166957) | more than 9 years ago | (#11813238)

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 search?

Potential for great website development (2, Insightful)

Jokernick5 (863468) | more than 9 years ago | (#11812053)

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?

Re:Potential for great website development (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11813537)

Yahoo has been steadily growing it's search over the last year, and make up about a third of all searches currently, second only to Google.

As for integration with maps, try local.yahoo.com which links straight into maps, or use the right-hand directory on maps.yahoo.com

I agree there's room for tighter integration, but Yahoo Local has actually been doing very well.

Nutch (5, Informative)

reality-bytes (119275) | more than 9 years ago | (#11812108)

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).

Re:Nutch (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11812302)

There is already a fairly scalable complete FOSS search-engine called Nutch which can (in theory) scale from an 'in website' search engine to a full-blown google-style search site.

Nutch is coded entirely in Java

Scalable... you keep using that word. I do not think that it means what you think it means.

Re:Nutch (2, Interesting)

reality-bytes (119275) | more than 9 years ago | (#11812432)

Scalable... you keep using that word. I do not think that it means what you think it means.


When referring to Nutch, I mean scalable from single processor systems (as would typically run single website searches) to multiple processor (clustered) systems for running full web-search sites.

What were you thinking I was meaning?

If the reference to Java implies non-scalability, Sun would tell you otherwise but I (personally) am giving no warranties either way. ;-)

12 year head start (2, Insightful)

whoda (569082) | more than 9 years ago | (#11812111)

"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.

Re:12 year head start (1)

cnettel (836611) | more than 9 years ago | (#11812691)

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...

I've got a real big problem... (4, Insightful)

blackhedd (412389) | more than 9 years ago | (#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!

Mod parent Insightful (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11812175)

Just do it.

Mod the moderators Incompetent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11812304)

It's the truth.

Re:I've got a real big problem... (1)

coolcold (805170) | more than 9 years ago | (#11812191)

because they don't want to write their own API and wants to grab those free stuff???

Re:I've got a real big problem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11812252)

He wrote well-motivated and talented hacker, not script kiddies.

Re:I've got a real big problem... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11812983)

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 know, and can therefore please pretty much exactly.*

Maps again present a problem - you need to find data sources. While there are free programs for making maps (GMT, MapServer), there isn't a comprehensive set of free data. And it's not the sort of data that would work well for collaborative and distributed collection. Imagine a program which did 25% of what you needed - that's still more useful than doing nothing, and may well be "good enough" to get users which fill in the blanks. But 25% of a map is 0% useful; if you're walking, it's no use if most of your route is "here be dragons", you need to know if your route takes you over a cliff. If you need directions, it's no good if they only tell you the part of the route you knew anyway (think about it, the major roads will get filled in first). And when a road layout changes, it needs changing right away, and not to rely on a contributor living near enough to notice.

Going further, some services make no sense in an "open source" version. What are "open and free" personal ads? Ones where you can edit anyone's profile? Certainly, you could clone the software for each of Yahoo's services, but the value here comes from the users - a personals ad site with 10,000 users running on a custom platform is worth more than 1,000 sites running on an open platform, each with 50 users.**

Given enough thought, some of these problems should be defeatable, but maybe it isn't as simple as it looks.

* Yes, security through obscurity = bad. But designing a truly un-gamable algorithm is a *lot* harder.

** Numbers pulled from sky to illustrate point. Unlikely to represent actual subs figures.

Re:I've got a real big problem... (1)

blackhedd (412389) | more than 9 years ago | (#11813235)

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 do we use Yahoo or Google? For the search service. Why does Yahoo or Google provide the search service? For the purpose of selling ads. When I really want to see ads, they're not hard to find :-)

Let's keep sight of the original point, which is that Yahoo is the latest company looking to capture value from the labor of the community. That means from you and from me. That's the part that I think should be resisted. I don't know if an open Yahoo alternative makes any sense. But I do know that smart programmers willing to give free labor to Yahoo need to get a life.

Re:I've got a real big problem... (2, Insightful)

Fnagaton (580019) | more than 9 years ago | (#11812999)

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.

Re:I've got a real big problem... (1)

blackhedd (412389) | more than 9 years ago | (#11813103)

I have an interesting technical problem to solve... would you like to work on it? It doesn't pay anything, but I'll make a lot of money selling your work. Interested? :-)

Re:I've got a real big problem... (5, Insightful)

gorbachev (512743) | more than 9 years ago | (#11813257)

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.

Wake Me When... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11812141)

...Yahoo adopts Google's "Do No Evil" philosophy

Yahoo and Python (2, Interesting)

szlevente (705483) | more than 9 years ago | (#11812150)

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...

Re:Yahoo and Python (1)

leerpm (570963) | more than 9 years ago | (#11812225)

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.

Re:Yahoo and Python (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11812824)

Google's search engine is written in C/C++. They do use Python and Java for ancillary services, and some stuff in Google Labs, but their core search technology is definitely not Python.

Re:Yahoo and Python (1)

wizard_of_wor (849406) | more than 9 years ago | (#11813395)

Writing Google's search engine in Python would be like writing a supercomputer weather simulation in Visual Basic.

Exclusive! Inside look into Yahoo's future! (2, Funny)

Shoten (260439) | more than 9 years ago | (#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]

What's my motivation? (1)

lone_knight (771218) | more than 9 years ago | (#11812357)

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?

Re:What's my motivation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11812975)

Uhm. Yahoo IPO'd years ago. Secondly, the question you're raising applies just as much to Google, whose API is also heavily restricted.

See Y! search API in action (4, Informative)

btbytes (625362) | more than 9 years ago | (#11812428)

This guy has already built a prototype Image search tool [swaroopch.info] using the Y! API.

Re:See Y! search API in action (2, Funny)

SmokeHalo (783772) | more than 9 years ago | (#11812966)

Funny, I would've thought this guy's server would be a pile of flaming ruins as the /. crowd rushed over there to find out how to create their own personal Natalie Portman search...

Oooh Something Shiny And New (1)

blueZhift (652272) | more than 9 years ago | (#11812703)

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!

Re:Oooh Something Shiny And New (1)

superpulpsicle (533373) | more than 9 years ago | (#11812784)

Unlike most companies who just gave up the fight after the .com and cashed out. I give Yahoo and Google alot of credit for continuing to compete even to this day.

FIRsT (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11812855)

may be hurting the dim. If *BSD is Shit-fiiled, the longest or and Juliet 40,000 a relatively 5tudy. [rice.edu] distribution. As And the striking a dead man walking.

quantity & quality (2, Funny)

sootman (158191) | more than 9 years ago | (#11812872)

"Yahoo makes more money and has more patents, services and users than Google."

Yeah, all Google has is better search results. :-)

Re:quantity & quality (1)

akrabat (527714) | more than 9 years ago | (#11813199)

It's a toss up if Google still has better search results. Yahoo's and MSN's seem pretty good now too.

The results pages all look the same too!

Oh? What's this? (1)

aristus (779174) | more than 9 years ago | (#11812939)

...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.

Re:Oh? What's this? (1)

gorbachev (512743) | more than 9 years ago | (#11813303)

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.

Linux Workstation at Googleplex (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11813339)

I read on Wikipedia that "Each employee has a Linux workstation" at the Googleplex

does anybody know what distro do they use?

any good Google employ blog you know?

Nuclear Facilities (1)

flood6 (852877) | more than 9 years ago | (#11813381)

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'.

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