When Yahoo! launched BOSS (Build Your Own Search Service) back in July last year it was touted as the innovation to save Yahoo! from Microsoft’s takeover bids.
Unfortunately Yahoo! wasn’t that lucky with the takeover and it would appear that BOSS is facing an uncertain future also.
BOSS allows developers to tap into Yahoo!’s core search index with an unprecedented amount of flexibility and build projects on Yahoo!’s APIs (Application Programming Interface).
The problem now is that there have been whispers that the BOSS platform will be shutdown. This most likely is due to the fact that Microsoft already have APIs, although they are certainly not as attractive as BOSS in that they limit monetization options and the ways developers can change the way their search results are presented.
Developers have been waiting anxiously for a response from Yahoo! regarding the future of BOSS without receiving any real answers. So they have taken action.
A developer who goes by the name of Phil in the BOSS Yahoo! Group has sent a letter to the US Department of Justice outlining his concerns for the Microsoft/Yahoo! deal.
This excerpt from the letter outlines why developers are so concerned:
The reason this program is so important is because before Boss, tens, if not hundreds of millions of dollars would be required to start a new search engine. Boss changed all that by making Yahoos own servers and search results available to third parties. In the year and a half since, tens, if not hundreds of companies and web developers have spent thousands of hours developing new
websites, web applications and search engines using Yahoo Boss.
Yahoo refuses to tell us whether the framework will be shut down or not. This is even after the two companies announced that all the details of their deal had been fleshed out. This has given us the distinct feeling that the decision to shut down Boss has already been made, but that they prefer to keep that quiet in order to not “rock the boat”.
It would appear that the DOJ is listening and have agreed to discuss the issue further with the developers.
If BOSS is closed down it will caused quite a disruption to all the developers using the platform, so here’s hoping for their sake that it continues to stay open.