The Monkey is Out and the Challenge is On

  • Posted May 15th, 2008 at 8:00 am by Yahoo! Search
  • Categories: SearchMonkey

It’s been three weeks since we began the limited preview of Yahoo! Search’s new open developer platform, SearchMonkey. Today, we’re officially opening up the doors to all developers — professionals and hobbyists — to begin building applications that enhance the usefulness and relevance of search results.

There are three components to this open ecosystem:

  • Site owners share structured data with Yahoo!, using semantic markup (microformats, RDF), standardized XML feeds, APIs (OpenSearch or other web services), and page extraction.
  • Third party developers build SearchMonkey applications.
  • Consumers customize their search experience.

So, what’s in it for third party developers?

With SearchMonkey, developers have a hand in shaping the next generation of search by building customized search results and mash-ups that users can add to their Yahoo! Search experience. By leveraging structured data from sites like CitySearch, StumbleUpon, eBay, or Epicurious.com, developers can add navigational links, reviews, contact information, and even locations to provide enhanced search listings.

Developers can build two types of applications using SearchMonkey: Enhanced Results and Infobars. Enhanced Results replace the current standard results with a richer display. All the links in the Enhanced Results must point to the site to which the result refers. Infobars are appended below search results and can include metadata about the result, related links or content, or links for user actions (such as adding a movie to a Netflix queue).

infobar-netflix

The process for building SearchMonkey applications is very straightforward:

    1) Application Type — Decide what type of app you want to build (Enhanced Result or Infobar) and enter basic info such as application name, description and icon.
    2) Trigger URLs — Decide the URL patterns that will trigger your app. For example, for the Enhanced Result above, the pattern would be “acmemovies.com/*”
    3) Data Services — Data Services are the structured data on which SearchMonkey apps are based. They can be created using data available in the Yahoo! Search index (via data feeds or page markup such as microformats or RDF) or by using APIs or page extraction.
    4) Appearance — Use PHP to configure how structured data should appear in the application.

DevTool Screenshot

Announcing the SearchMonkey Developer Challenge

To foster innovation and creativity on the SearchMonkey platform, we’re hosting a good old-fashioned competition. The SearchMonkey Developer Challenge will recognize innovative applications within four categories: Best Enhanced Result, Best Infobar, Most Innovative Use of Structured Data, Best Data Service, and Grand Prize (best over all categories). You have until June 14th to submit your applications for a chance to win up to $10,000.

And don’t forget to come kick things off with us this evening at the SearchMonkey Developer Launch Party. Catch live demos, meet the product team and enjoy free food, beer and, of course, schwag at Yahoo!’s Headquarters in Sunnyvale.

Whether you can join us for the party or not, keep in touch — visit our suggestion forum or drop us a comment below. We want to know how the tool is working out for you.

We look forward to evolving web search with you.

Amit Kumar
Director, Product Management
Yahoo! Search

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