When I first heard about Yahoo opening up access to its search engine to outside devs, I laughed. I mean really, it must be like opening up the doors to the intensive care ward, right? But after I had a chance to ponder the significance a bit more, I was shocked when I read the following line – Google did this about six years ago.
Man, how did I forget that? Regardless of my own memory lapse, let us not forget that it was Netscape that also did this with their browser code back when Microsoft Internet Explorer seemed to be unstoppable. Years later of out of the Mozilla mines, Firefox was born.
What is unfortunate is that Yahoo’s approach is not going to be good enough. APIs are awesome, but only when the API is connected to something that people actually want to use. As badly as Yahoo is doing right now, Yahoo needs to completely rethink its search business. Instead, they are basically opening up their really lousy product for people to integrate into their websites? Seems confusing to me. They are providing people with the ability to use inaccurate search queries on their own websites? Seriously, do I need to spell this out. Listen and learn, after all you have no other choice right now.
Your company is about to eat itself. The last resort is to COMPLETELY open up your search engine, allow for spin offs and then provide services to those spin offs. Either that or abandon search altogether and simply become a content company like Netscape or AOL.