MSN is to offer series of APIs for MSN Search, MSN Virtual Earth, MSN Messenger and MapPoint for developers who wish to tap into or enhance these products. The program and information isn't live yet, but it will go up in the near future here.
Microsoft says the new area will "give developers one-stop access to a full range of tools, technologies and guidance for greater success in building powerful applications that interact with MSN services and data. Resources include technical articles; newsgroups, forums and blogs; software developer kits (SDKs) for MSN Search, Windows Desktop Search and MSN Messenger." News.com also has a story here: Microsoft Web plan takes aim at Google. Below is the further information MSN has sent us:
MSN will be unveiling a development platform of new application programming interfaces (APIs), Web services and other components designed to help developers build more innovative search, mapping and instant-messaging capabilities. MSN is focused on developing innovative, software-driven and globally scalable communications and information services that will provide consumers with the most useful online experience. The third party developer ecosystem is a key component of delivering on this objective. By opening up our platform to the developer community we hope to extend the opportunity to innovate and create new services and applications thereby providing an even more useful experience for our customers. Below are the specific details for each API by product:
- MSN Search: Developers will now have access to the MSN Search Web Services API for non-commercial use, giving them access to the functionality that spans search results for Web site content, local attractions, maps and directions, digital satellite images and other information. Because the MSN Search Web Service is powered by MSN.com search engine, results delivered through the API are the same as what users would see on search.msn.com. The new MSN Web Search Services complement and expand upon the previously released Microsoft Windows Desktop Search APIs within the overall developer platform.
- MSN Virtual Earth: Businesses and developers can now access API for MSN Virtual Earth beta for commercial use. In January, customers will have two additional options to choose from to fit their specific needs.
In addition to the service being free, businesses have the opportunity to make money by placing advertisements on their sites in a revenue sharing model (more details to be announced at a later date).
If developers and businesses do not want to utilize the geographical local search capabilities or advertising, they have the option to sign a contract with Microsoft that gives them transactions at a low cost and a Service Level Agreement (SLA) for their MSN Virtual Earth-enhanced applications. This is the model used today for MapPoint Web Service
Additionally, customers can utilize the MapPoint Web Service as their online mapping platform with millions of points of interest, mapping coverage for 27 countries, driving directions, numerous map styles, an SLA for enterprise reliability, and an extranet for uploading custom information.
- MSN Messenger Activity API: Developers will be able to create applications that can be used as an extension to MSN Messenger, enabling users to connect in more ways with people on their contact list. This program is a natural progression that builds on MSN games (MSN Instant Games Clubhouse) and other share activities that are already available in MSN Messenger.
As part of this initiative, MSN is also announcing the World?s Application Development contest, to inspire developers to create new applications that will benefit more than 170 million customers around the world. Winning submissions will be eligible for prizes, based on the creativity, launches, and their use of other MSN services in the development process. For more information on, please visit www.worldsbestapp.com.
- MapPoint Web Service 4.0: Developers will benefit from new functionality and options for customization included in the newly announced MapPoint Web Service 4.0 featuring new mapping functionality, extended geographic coverage and language support. Customers and partners utilize MapPoint Web Service?s familiar development platform for more easily creating mapping and location-aware applications and services to help them visualize business processes and data.
Want to comment or discuss? Visit our forum thread, MSN APIs Coming September 13th