Microsoft Travels The Silk Road

    November 14, 2008
    Chris Crum

Microsoft has launched a new project aimed at web publishers and developers, entitled "Project Silk Road," in which the latest step combines a content management system with the ability to sell ads. Microsoft explains more about Silk Road:

We call it Project Silk Road because it’s the next step in our journey to bring the power of Live Search to the online community. In much the same way that the original Silk Road offered opportunities for cultural and technological exchange and innovation, we believe that Project Silk Road can spark innovation in the online ecosystem.

Project Silk Road allows you to serve your search results in the rank and format that you choose and call them from the web service protocol you prefer. On top of that, you have access to content from Encarta, related search queries, and a set of tools — like an Excel add-in that tracks keyword performance — to help you optimize your site performance and improve the search experience for your customers.

Features Include:

– A 404 Error Toolkit that allows you to create a better experience and keep users on your site, even when they enter a search that returns no results.

– Related content for search queries, such as images, news, and other web results.

– Flexible terms of use with no daily limit on queries and control over how to rank and format search results.
– Increased number of supported standard web service protocols from SOAP only to now include RSS, JSON, and XML.
– Additional data types exposed through the API, including related search results and Encarta instant answers, added to previously supported data types of web, image, news, spelling, and phonebook queries.

Project Silk Road is currently in broad beta, and Microsoft is seeking publishers to use it and provide feedback to help improve the service. Those interested can apply here.