Microsoft joins the web search API world
Microsoft has released an API to use MSN Search at last. Instead of changing the license to their XML-formatted results, they've published a WSDL file for use with SOAP. I don't mind that at all though, I'm just happy I can finally use MSN Search output in my tools. The most important part of the license (for me as a developer anyway) is that every IP is allowed to retrieve 10k results per day for free, which is a much more elegant solution than Google's API key mechanism, where you have to get your application's users to register with Google and paste some key into a configuration screen or file. The 10k results are the same amount Google allows, both are dwarfed by Yahoo's 250k though.
What's interesting is that MSN chose to go the SOAP route, after Yahoo picked REST and Google said that in retrospect, they'd rather have gone with REST as well. MSN could have released a REST API by changing the license text in the XML-results, but instead they went through the trouble of creating a WSDL, which although it's not an incredible amount of work, does seem to signal that Microsoft still believes that SOAP is the way to go. I'm not sure I agree though, I tend to think that REST is great for utility APIs where you want easy access from high-level tools like scripting languages and that the extra weight of SOAP is only worth it when composing applications based on multiple services. Personally I see searching the web more as a utility than as a base service.