Yahoo is opening up its search platform to enable publishers to serve up more task-oriented, detailed search-page results as part of a larger strategy to encourage third-party development on its Internet platform.
Through a new publisher program called the Yahoo open-search platform, Yahoo is providing APIs to all of its publishers so that they can create feeds including structured data -- such as reviews, photos, and contact information -- that can be displayed on a search-results page, said Amit Kumar, a Yahoo director of product management.
Using that information, results displayed through the feeds will provide search users more direct access to the results they're looking for, as well as provide a more customized look to the results that reflects the Web pages they link to, he said.
For example, a user typing in a search for "blue shoes," might be delivered a link to an eBay auction for shoes that allows the user to "bid now" or an Amazon.com link to purchase shoes with an accompanying photo, Kumar said.
The new program focuses only on organic search results and does not affect sponsored and paid-search results, nor does it affect results ranking, he added. Search results from the new program should appear on Yahoo in the next few months, Kumar said.
All of Yahoo's publishers, whether large sites such as Yelp, The New York Times, WebMD, and the like, or smaller Web sites, will have equal access to the APIs and can send structured data to the Yahoo search engine, Kumar said.
Yahoo unveiled the program in a posting on the Yahoo Search Blog Monday evening. The company also will discuss the news Tuesday at the Search Engine Marketing Expo in Santa Clara, Calif.
Earlier this year in a keynote speech at CES, CEO Jerry Yang said the company would be allowing third parties to create more customized interfaces and content for its Web platform by releasing APIs in an effort to compete with Google, which already gives access to APIs to allow third parties to develop on its Web platform.
However, while Google allows similar task-oriented results that link to its own services, such as Google Maps, it has not opened this feature for publisher content, Kumar said.
Yahoo appears to be moving ahead with its own search plans even as it faces a possible takeover by Microsoft, which made a $44.6 billion bid for the company on Feb. 1. Yahoo's board rejected the bid, but Microsoft is rumored to be mounting a proxy fight for the company.