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Yahoo! opens search to all

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Yahoo! said yesterday it will open up access to external developers to its search engine, something Google did six years ago.

Developers will get access to an API allowing them to run versions of Yahoo!'s search engine on their own websites. Yahoo! will sell adverts on any applications that attract users. The hope is that dozens of small, specialised search developers will create sites which attract the users which Yahoo! on its own has failed to find.

Google offered a similar service from 2002 until 2006, when it moved to AJAX APIs.

The service is called Build your Own Search Service or BOSS. Developers will be able to control presentation and ranking of results. There are two versions - one gives you basic access to APIs or larger developers can go for BOSS Custom.

Meanwhile the pressure on Yahoo's CEO Jerry Yang continues to grow. Yahoo! spent yesterday denying rumours that he was set to resign and was under pressure from shareholders.

Yang blamed Microsoft for deliberately destabilising Yahoo! and described Icahn's slate of directors as a poor choice for the company.

Yang badly needs a deal in place, or at least ready to announce publicly, for the shareholders' meeting on 1 August.

Carl Icahn continues to push for Yang's replacement and Microsoft is signalling its willingness to return to the negotiating table if a new board is elected. The danger is that without a deal in place Microsoft will return as the only possible bidder for the company, which won't encourage the software behemoth to up its offer.®

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