I realized that Yahoo! Search BOSS API was gone last month, now Bing is going to shut down its Search API and asking developers to move on to Windows Azure Marketplace, which, unfortunately, is same as Yahoo's new API, not free. This is the email I just received:

Dear Bing API Developer:

For the past several years, the Bing Search API has made search data available for developers to innovate and build upon. Today we are announcing that the Bing Search API will transition to an offering made available on the Windows Azure Marketplace. The Windows Azure Marketplace is a one stop shop for cloud data, apps, and services, including the Microsoft Translator API. Through this platform, developers can access hundreds of data sets and APIs and distribute their applications through the marketplace.

A few important things to note regarding the upcoming transition:
  • With the transition, Bing Search API developers will have access to fresher results, improved relevancy, and more opportunities to monetize their usage of the Search API. To offer these services at scale, we plan to move to a monthly subscription model. Developers can expect subscription pricing to start at approximately $40 (USD) per month for up to 20,000 queries each month.
  • The transition will begin in several weeks and will take a few months to complete. Developers will be encouraged to try the Bing Search API for free on the Windows Azure Marketplace during the transition period, before we begin charging for the service.
  • At this time, you can continue using Bing Search API 2.0 free of charge. After the transition period, Bing Search API 2.0 will no longer be available for free public use.
Details regarding the transition timeline, pricing structure, and other changes will be announced in upcoming weeks. In the meantime, we encourage you to explore the Windows Azure Marketplace and read the documentation. As a Bing Search API developer, you can expect the transition to involve targeting a new API end point, moderate changes to the request and response schemas, and a new security requirement to authenticate your application key. Developers using approximately 3 to 4 million queries and above can expect to transition through a separate process (details will be provided shortly).

We understand that many of you are using the API as an important element in your websites and applications, and we will continue to share details with you through the Bing Developer Blog as we approach the transition. We appreciate your patience during this time.

Bing Developer Team

If lucky, we will still have a few months of free Bing Search API.

Years ago, when you talked about an API, you just assumed that it's free for use. The only thing you need to care is not to violate the terms of use. To date, what you care are how much does it charge and what authentication model and library you should use.

APIs are getting more restrict, mind you it's not for security as the starting point, not entirely, but slightly rather for identifying the app which is accessing them.

One thing I really don't like is you have secret and/or key, then a hash. All is for the security. Even it's accessing public data, you may still be asked to sign your request. All I really want to do is
wget http://example.com/data
and process them in a shell script. But no, you have to go through a process in order to make sure everything is safe. It's harder and harder for shell scripts, even just to get a number via API.

I am sure in a near future, someone would ask "Anyone still remembers the HTTP Basic Authentication?" Maybe someday, OAuth will be supported by Wget or cURL.

Well, Bing Search isn't important to me, I only need a number from it and I can live without it.

Updated on 2012-05-20T06:26:05Z

I received another email and noticed this part:

For up to 5,000 queries per month, developers can access the API for free on the Windows Azure Marketplace. At this level, the large majority of our existing developers including non-profits, educational institutions, and smaller scale applications can continue using the service for free.

It sounds great for my usage of Bing Search since I only need a few API calls. However, after I signed up and got the new Account Key, I found out there is no data for total results from returned Atom (XML) or JSON format. In the end, I will still need to remove Bing Search, which will be gone on August 1, 2012.