Today at PubCon, Microsoft announced its latest improvement to its search offering: an API with ad support, called Project Silk Road. In the blog post of the announcement, Microsoft explains:
Now, in one place, we’re making available what is essentially a content management system for your site or blog, plus the ability to monetize by selling ads. . . .
In much the same way that the original Silk Road offered opportunities for cultural and technological exchange and innovation, we believe that Project Silk Road can spark innovation in the online ecosystem.
(Please tell me you know what the Silk Road is. My life will lapse into utter despair if you can’t remember your fifth grade social studies.)
But on to the heart of the matter, yes? This API allows its users to serve their search results in the rank and format of their choosing, as well as using the web service protocol of their choice. The API also gives access to content from Encarta, related searches and tools (including an Excel add-in for keyword performance tracking). Additionally, Microsoft search ads can be pulled in with the API as well.
The Microsoft blog also lists some cool features:
- 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.
Currently in “broad beta,” you can apply for the program. Site quality, subject matter, and traffic volume are the evaluation criteria listed.
Will you be applying?