Yahoo! BOSS has a $2000 bonus for the Daylife Developer Challenge

Yahoo! opened up their search platform with a new API product Yahoo! BOSS. The BOSS API lets you submit a search query and get web, news and image search results in XML or JSON formats.

Yahoo! BOSS

Yahoo! BOSS

I wrote up a basic python client to get web results from the BOSS API and integrated it with the new Daylife customization wizard that lets you add a web search module on any daylife page.

Our friends at Yahoo! have gotten a great response from the launch of the BOSS API. To kick it up a notch, they have offered a bonus prize of $2000 (woot!) to raise the stakes in the Daylife Developer Challenge.

The BOSS API is pretty simple to use. You can combine queries using logical operators, apply filters such as exclude hate and filter content, simply paginate through the results and one simple feature that makes me happy – it returns the total result count!

There is also a BOSS Mashup Framework that you can use to build a BOSS application. Also, there is a screencast from Vik Singh in the BOSS team to use the API.


Reuters Spotlight APIs

Reuters Group plcImage via Wikipedia

Andrew Lister from Reuters Labs shared with me their brand new API product called Spotlight. The APIs lets you pull Reuters stories, videos, photos and full article content as RSS feeds or XML/JSON or even as RDF.

Getting started is easy – signup on, activate your account and you have an accesskey to call the APIs.

The APIs let you pull Reuters content (articles, full news text, photos, videos) for a particular edition ( US, UK, Japan, India, China etc.) and a channel ( e.g. Top News, Entertainment, Business.).

The API call is a simple HTTP request with parameters and their values mentioned in the query string. There is no API authentication but the apikey is required for tracking usage. A sample request looks like:

With every piece of content returned, you do get some interesting metadata, such as related categories e.g. for this article about “Wedding bells for Bush’s daughter Jenna draw near

<category term=”Washington / US Government News” />
<category term=”Living and lifestyle” />
<category term=”Domestic Politics” />
<category term=”Online Report text item” />
<category term=”United States of America” />
<category term=”Canada” />

Another useful feature is that Spotlight does integrate with Reuter’s Open Calais and can return you more entity data from the Calais analysis. E.g.

Facility: Rose Garden, Texas ranch
Organization: Virginia Republican Party, University of Virginia, White House, U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
IndustryTerm: media reports, media glare, refused media
Company: Constellation Energy, CNN
Country: United States, North Korea, Afghanistan, Iraq
Person: David Alexander, George W. Bush, Richard Nixon, Gordon Johndroe, Tricia, Jenna Bush, Henry Hager, Virginia Lt. Gov, Larry King, Oscar de la Renta, Laura Bush, Live, Edward Cox, John Hager, Chris Wilson
ProvinceOrState: Virginia, Texas, Maryland, Maine

Some more examples feeds:

Videos for US top news:

Photos for US Sports news:

Another notable feature are the editorial/admin APIs (they call them Information Feeds) which a publisher to build editorial controls around what data is being pulled from these APIs. E.g., if I had a CMS I could use these APIs to build an editorial page showing what kind of channels or content is available through the Spotlight Feed and help an editor configure it for the system.

Questions that I have for the Reuters folks:

1. How often is the data refreshed in these feeds?

2. How are updates for articles published? Are there identifiers that can help an app refresh the data on its side.

3. Is there any caching that Reuters is doing?

4. What are Reuter’s policies about getting the full article body from Reuters and then re-publishing on another site?

Before you get all excited to build apps that make you money, an important point to notice – the APIs are for non-commercial use only. So do make cool things that helps the world in free non commercial ways.

The Spotlight APIs follow the launch of Reuter’s OpenCalais API. Its all about the APIs!

Web 2.0 Design as understood by a Classic/Contemporary Designer

Roger Black‘s notion of web 2.0 design:

The concept of web 2.0 design is to provide a set of tools and services to your user so that they can customize your website as they like to see it. It probably will be not more than 5% of the users that would do these customizations, but that would be worth it. After all, these are the people that love you.

You already see companies like Virb, Tumblr providing these kind of controls. Netvibes, Pageflakes and to some extent has provided some kind of control on the blocks of content that you see on your home page.

And when it comes to Web 2.0 concepts of forums, discussions, comments, ratings, user generated content – giving your user controls on how they want to see all this data helps them dig into the data. Just the flexibility to see comments in a collapsible format or a stream of comments can be useful.