Bing’s API won’t be free anymore, instead being available in the Windows Azure Marketplace.
Microsoft have confirmed in a blog post that Bing’s API is to be paid for
Microsoft have been pushing Bing recently to try and get it into the mindset of consumers and developers. The company’s latest move is making the API of Bing commercial, so it will not longer be free to download.
The API will be available on the Windows Azure Marketplace. Following in the footsteps of the Windows Azure cloud service, the Marketplace is the area for “cloud data, apps and services,” which includes the Microsoft Translator API (which also has various paid-for tiers). Microsoft have outlined some key points during the move from free to paid content:
1. Step Microsoft say developers will have access to “fresher results, improved relevancy” and more opportunities to make money from usage of the Search API. The reason for moving to a paid-for model is to offer the service “at scale,” Microsoft say. That means a monthly subscription model, where developers will begin paying $40 per month for 2,000 queries. There will likely be additional tiers, but Microsoft hasn’t revealed them.
2. Step Microsoft say the transition will begin in “several weeks,” and will take months to complete. Before the company begins charging for the service, the blog post says Microsoft will encourage developers to use the API for free.
3. Step Developers can continue to use the Bing Search 2.0 API for free. When the “transition period” ends, the 2.0 API will no longer be available for free public use. Developers can still continue to access the API through the Marketplace
Microsoft will announce more details on pricing structure and timing over the coming weeks, they say on the Bing Community blog. During this time Microsoft are encouraging developers to visit the Windows Azure Marketplace and read the documentation on getting data sets and APIs.
Microsoft also say in the post that developers using three to four million search queries can expect a different transition period, and more details will be provided on that shortly.
Some users have questioned how developers using smaller search queries will be able to pay $40p/m, though Microsoft could reveal incentives or smaller developers soon. We’ll have to see.