Posts Tagged 'BOSS'

On Microsoft & Yahoo

As several sources reported yesterday, Microsoft and Yahoo put together a deal whereby Microsoft will use Bing to power Yahoo search, while Yahoo will take over the advertising on all search results.  Overall, we feel that this is a good thing, assuming it does create a more viable challenger to Google.  While we’re fully vested in the success of companies using 80legs to power their own search technologies, we feel Bing represents the best opportunity to get consumers used to thinking of alternative when it comes to search.  Right now your average person only thinks of one thing when it comes to search (Google) and he doesn’t even consider any alternatives (niche, deep web, semantic, etc.).  Bing has been able to put some good-sized chinks in Google’s armor, and that will help in the entire industry.

One interesting side issue is what will happen to all the efforts Yahoo has engaged in to help the search community, such as SearchMonkey, BOSS, etc.  From what we can gather, the fate of this products is sort of up in the air right now.  My guess is that they stay alive, as both Microsoft and Yahoo probably realize they need as many people taking on Google as possible.


Recap of Web 2.0 Expo experience

Apologies for not posting this entry sooner.. it’s been a busy week with our private beta launch :).  About 2 weeks ago, we attended the Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco.  We exhibited at a booth there and were part of the Launch Pad event.  We also attended the AltSearchEngines Day II, which was a mini-conference put on by Charles Knight.  Here’s a quick recap of each event.

AltSearchEngines Day II

Image courtesy of Elliott Ng, UpTake Travel Search

Image courtesy of Elliott Ng, UpTake Travel Search

This was a quick day conference on Monday.  There were about 50 or so people in attendance.  Most of the attendees were from different altenative search engines.  A variety of presenters and panelists demoed different technologies and discussed current trends in the search market.  There were also some folks from Yahoo! to talk about BOSS, which made me a bit upset at myself for not deciding to spring for sponsorship of the event.  Sponsorship would have given us a speaking slot, and we could have completely deflated the Yahoo! presentation.  Ah well, lessons learned…

On a side note, the mall in downtown San Francisco has a really awesome food court.

Web 2.0 Expo

Image courtesy of James Duncan Davidson

Image courtesy of James Duncan Davidson

We exhibited at a small booth on the expo floor.  Despite being somewhat near the back of the hall, we got an incredible amount of traffic and were busy the entire time.. literally.  The minute the doors opened, we had someone come up to us wanting to learn more, and we had people asking us questions after the expo closed every day.  We got about 150 contacts from the booth itself.  The contacts included a wide variety of people and companies, including search engines, market research firms, price comparison sites, students, venture capitalists, and so on.  We had a live demo running on a widescreen TV that people could check out and some one-sheets describing the technology.  We actually got a little blog coverage from our booth as well.

Launch Pad

Photo courtesy of James Duncan Davidson

Image courtesy of James Duncan Davidson

On Thursday, we got to give our Launch Pad pitch.  The event took place in a massive room; there were about 200-300 people in attendance.  It was pretty exciting – we presented on a big stage, with giant screens on either side of us.  From this event, we got a lot of press coverage, some of which I’ve listed here (with some commentary):

  • CNET:  It looks like Rafe liked us the most, calling us “a genuinely new idea”!
  • TechCrunch:  We got a lot of inquiries following the TC post.  We actually didn’t know it had gotten on TechCrunch until we started seeing a stream of new inquiries coming in every minute or so, which lasted for pretty much the whole day.
  • Wall Street Journal:  A quick mention at the end.. I’m guessing the author didn’t quite understand who uses 80legs.. no biggie, our customers definitely understand :)
  • ReadWriteWeb:  Another quick mention, but this time at the beginning.. it pays to come up first on alphanumeric sorting!
  • InformationWeek:  Pretty happy Michael liked the image search demonstration – the cool thing is that image search is just the tip of the iceberg with what’s possible when using 80legs.

I have to say, the conference was a great experience for us.  As a result, we now have several hundred people interested in joining the private beta, with new inquiries still coming in each day.  We plan on attending the next Web 2.0 Expo, which will be in New York City in October.  I can only hope that one turns out to be as great as this one was!

Comparing 80legs to Yahoo! BOSS

Yahoo! recently announced a new pricing scheme for their BOSS platform, so we thought it would be a good idea to provide a comparison between 80legs and BOSS.

Web-Scale Development vs. Re-packaged Yahoo! Search

The biggest difference between 80legs and BOSS is that 80legs is a platform for developing your own web-scale applications while BOSS is an API for retrieving search results from Yahoo!.  In other words, with 80legs you can easily build any kind of web-scale app that accesses the entire Internet.  With BOSS, you are ultimately  re-packaging search results from Yahoo!.

Query Types

BOSS lets you make 4 types of queries:

  • Spelling
  • Web
  • News
  • Image

Each of these query types is logically the same type: keyword matching on text content.  The difference between the four is the result type you get with each one.  80legs has no limitations on query types.  With our service, you can do any of the following:

  • Keyword matching on text content (includes all 4 BOSS query ‘types’)
  • Visual matching on images (e.g., Is Image A similar to Image B?)
  • Programmatic queries (e.g., On which pages does the word ‘Obama’ appear 4 times?)
  • And any other query type you conceive

Because 80legs is an application development platform, you can create your own code to create any query type you want.


Within some of the BOSS query types listed above, you can pass in a limited set of filter options to narrow down the result set your query returns.  For example, with web queries, you can choose from a set of 6 file types.  When filtering with 80legs, you pass in regular expressions instead of pre-defined options.  This gives the developer infinitely more freedom when it comes to filtering result sets.


Here’s the pricing table for BOSS:


Each unit costs $0.10.  This table is a bit opaque, but with a little math we can break it down as follows (MRR = million results returned):

  • $0.10 per MRR: off-peak use
  • $3.00 per MRR: 1,000 results/query, on-peak use
  • $10.00 per MRR: 100 results/query, on-peak use
  • $12.00 per MRR: 50 results/query, on-peak use
  • $30.00 per MRR: 10 results/query, on-peak use

The cost to use 80legs is more straightforward (MPC = million pages crawled):

  • $2.00 per MPC: for crawling/accessing content
  • $0.03 per CPU-hr: for computing/analysis performed on content

Now, this comparison is admittedly a bit of an apples to oranges comparison (hopefully we’ve impressed upon you that 80legs is a different animal and has way more features), but it gives you some sense of the difference in pricing.  Companies interested in serious web-scale development could potentially save a lot by going with BOSS during off-peak hours, but I wonder if they would be trying BOSS at all due to limitations we mentioned above.  (Also, it’s not clear what constitutes ‘off-peak’ at this point.)  Smaller users will be paying less on a per-unit basis.  Again, this is an apples-oranges scenario, so comparing the two pricing schemes is a bit odd, but we like to be thorough :).


80legs and BOSS are two very different things.  80legs is a platform for making any kind of web-scale application.  BOSS is a way to query Yahoo!.  80legs allows much more functionality and enables a  much wider variety of service and products looking to do interesting things with Internet data.

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