Bing Search API Moves to Windows Azure Marketplace
Written by Kay Ewbank
Monday, 21 May 2012
If you want to make heavy use Microsoft’s Bing API in your apps you’ll soon have to pay for it, as it has been moved to the Windows Azure Marketplace and changed from a free-to-use model.
As we reported last month, Microsoft is introducing charges for using the Bing Search API. The good news its that a fairly generous free tier has been allocated that should mean that many existing users, including non-profits, educational institutions, and smaller scale applications can continue using the service for free.
The current 2.0 version of the API is at the moment continuing to be available free of charge for a transition period, but Microsoft will remove it from use on 1 August 2012 and it will no longer return results. At that point, you’ll have switch to the version on the Azure Marketplace and pay subscription fees if you’re running more than 5,000 queries a month.
Microsoft made the search API free back in 2009 in what many saw as a typical Microsoft move; build market share and use the early adopters to iron out the wrinkles from the product, then move to getting the money in once you’ve got the numbers and the features. This change is where Microsoft starts making money from Bing, and also another way to make Azure higher profile and more widely used.
According to a Microsoft blog post about the move to Azure, those of you who run fewer than 5,000 queries a month will still be able to use the Bing API for free, it’s just the location has moved. This is still pretty generous compared to Google’s limit of 100 free queries per day, 30,000 per month.
If you run more than 5,000 queries per month, you’ll need to purchase a subscription on the Windows Azure Marketplace. There are different rates depending on whether you want to have only web results or provide results locally.
The full pricing list can be found here, but as an example, 10,000 queries per month would cost $20, which works out cheaper than Google's comparable charge of $35.