Yahoo Rolls Out Open Search, In-Game Ads


You've gotta hand it to 'em: The folks at Yahoo aren't giving up quietly. Amidst endless news of the company's downfall, the struggling search engine has unveiled two new features to try to attract users and make money.

First up: a new customizable search platform called Yahoo Search BOSS, or Build Your Own Search Service. The idea, announced just after midnight ET, lets anyone use Yahoo's search infrastructure to create a localized search function with any set of specifications. The end-user controls both the appearance and the results, with the built-in ability to process Yahoo's output and re-rank it any way you'd like. Some examples of possible uses provided include graphical presentations that show small images of web sites next to the results, or social searches that pull specific data from a person's profile to deliver interest-relevant results.

The API and mash-up tools are already available on Yahoo's Developer Network site. Yahoo plans to eventually offer Yahoo search advertising and "potentially other models" -- hmm -- for developers to earn money by having the search utility on their sites.

Speaking of advertising, Yahoo's second announcement is the launch of ad-supported downloadable games on its Yahoo Games service. More than 400 titles are expected to be made available by the year's end, Yahoo said this morning. The ads will be built-in as pre-roll and post-roll -- but also as mid-roll, meaning players will see the spots while engaged in the game. Yahoo will offer the option to get ad-free versions for a fee.