This article was published on June 8, 2009

Microsoft gives us the no-usage-limits Bing API

Microsoft gives us the no-usage-limits Bing API
Story by


Ralf Rottmann is a serial entrepreneur from Germany. He successfully sold his last business to Alcatel-Lucent. Follow him as @24z on Twitter Ralf Rottmann is a serial entrepreneur from Germany. He successfully sold his last business to Alcatel-Lucent. Follow him as @24z on Twitter and on Google+

Planning to “build your own search engine”? Help might come from Microsoft’s Bing API, a much enhanced version of the Live Search API available at the Bing Developer Center.


Taken from a pre-Bing-launch blog post, this is what the Bing API delivers in a nutshell:

  • Offers new interfaces: JSON, and XML over HTTP. The Live Search SOAP interface will also be maintained.
  • Parsing out non-web results that had been shoehorned into a one-size-fits-all response structure, has been an issue with the Live Search API. Bing API results are strongly typed and offer access to seven different types of results (web, news, images, phonebook, spell-checker, related queries, and Encarta instant answer).
  • The Terms of Use no longer contain any pre-set usage quota. Microsoft requires that the API is used for user-facing applications only.
  • The popular Live Search API feature to batch multiple SourceTypes into a single request is still available.

The ProgrammableWeb states

“Note that the terms of use have also been loosed to allow more flexible presentation options such as no restrictions on ordering and blending search results.” We found it worthwhile to double-check the Bing API Version 2.0 Terms of Use.

Here is what you must do:

  • Display all the results you request.
  • Display attribution to Bing in a manner compliant with Microsoft’s branding rules.
  • Restrict the usage to less than 7 queries per second (QPS) per IP address. Exceeding this limit must be approved with the team at [email protected]
  • Interleaving data from any source other than the API with data from the API requires developers to clearly differentiate the respective sources.

What you cannot do:

  • Use API results for search engine optimization (SEO). In particular, using the API for rank checks is explicitly prohibited.
  • Display advertisements in positions other than the mainline and sidebar.
  • Change the order of results the API returns from a SourceType other than the Web Source Type.

We would be tempted to state that “no restrictions on ordering and blending” is not exactly what it is.

U.S.-based publishers can apply for a beta program to include search ads, thus trying to monetize their search applications.

Interested in building your first Bing based search solution? Read the API documentation available at the Microsoft Developer Network and don’t forget to send us links to what you’ve built!

Get the TNW newsletter

Get the most important tech news in your inbox each week.

Also tagged with