Yahoo! Search BOSS Releases Key Terms

  • Posted November 18th, 2008 at 8:00 am by Yahoo! Search
  • Categories: BOSS

Today we’re pleased to announce the availability of the first of a series of new BOSS features called Key Terms.

We began opening up our search infrastructure four months ago with Yahoo! Search BOSS. Since then, we’ve heard again and again in our developer group and at conferences and hack days around the world that developers want more access to deep infrastructure assets.

Key Terms is derived from a Yahoo! Search capability we refer to internally as “Prisma.” This is the same patented technology that powers Search Assist. Key Terms is an ordered terminological representation of what a document is about. The ordering of terms is based on each term’s frequency and its positional and contextual heuristics.

How could it be used? Obviously it could be used as the basis for assistance and refinement technology (as we’ve done with Search Assist), but that’s hardly the only possible application. Key Terms could be highly useful as input to semantic analysis or new relevancy models. They could also be used to analyze and cluster similar documents or as a vehicle for new visual experiences.

For an example of Key Terms in use check out It’s a Parisian food search engine built by our very own epicurean developer Ted Drake. The “Related Terms” refiners under each result are pulled directly from Key Terms.

To provide API access to Key Terms, we’re introducing a new universal parameter called “view.” View is the argument that will provide a lens into deeper content. Appending “&view=keyterms” to the BOSS Web Search API call will result in Key Terms being included in the response.

In the example below, we included Key Terms in a query for obama. Each result contains up to 20 terms describing the document. The terms below describe the first result, for


Check out the BOSS documentation for all the details of how you can use Key Terms and other BOSS functionality. Last but not least, we’ve added Romanian, Hebrew, and Turkish language/region support to the BOSS APIs – details are also included in the documentation.

If you have any questions or feedback, we encourage you to post them to the BOSS group. We’re committed to continuing to open our infrastructure and technology to developers, start-ups and established Internet companies, so if you have any thoughts on what should be next, we’re all ears.

Ashim Chhabra
The BOSS Team

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