Microsoft is all over the news headlines today. Aside from the “sweeping” new social features that it is introducing to the Live.com portal, Microsoft also announced the release of the Live Search API which is also known as Project Silk Road.
According to the Official Live Search blog, Project Silk Road is:
a broad range of tools and services we’re offering online publishers and developers to help them generate traffic, increase engagement on their sites, drive insight, and boost productivity and agility
In addition Project Silk Road would allow publishers to serve their site’s search results in their preferred rank and format and even call them from the web service protocol that they prefer. Publishers would also have access to Encarta contents, related search queries and other Microsoft tools for which they can use for tracking keyword performance and site optimization.
Although using the said Live Search API does not require publishers to run Live Search Ads on their site, those who will opt to do so will be part of Microsoft’s revenue-sharing agreement with its search partners.
The Project Silk Road is currently in beta stage right now, and although it is open for anyone to use as announced by the Live Search blog, interested publishers specifically U.S.-based will still need to apply to be included in the program. Criteria for judging whether a site qualifies for the program depends on site quality and traffic volume as well as passing the Microsoft Editorial Guidelines.
If you apply for the program and deemed worthy to be given access to the Live Search API, you’ll enjoy the following features of the Live Search API as listed by the Live Search Blog:
- A 404 Error Toolkit that allows you to create a better experience and keep users on your site, even when they enter a search that returns no results.
- Related content for search queries, such as images, news, and other web results.
- Increased number of supported standard web service protocols from SOAP only to now include RSS, JSON, and XML.
- Additional data types exposed through the API, including related search results and Encarta instant answers, added to previously supported data types of web, image, news, spelling, and phonebook queries.