Yahoo begins transition to Bing search, kills SearchMonkey

Yahoo said Tuesday that it would begin to switch over its search backend to the Microsoft platform in the US and Canada, the cornerstone of an agreement reached between the two companies last July. A "Powered by Bing" graphic would appear at the bottom of its search pages after the transition, the company said.

It would still be some time yet before other markets worldwide transition to Bing, for which Yahoo gave no timeline, although it's expected the full transition wouldn't be complete until 2012. Of course, one notable example would be Japan: that division is switching to a Google backend pending regulatory approval and any legal challenges.

While the innards of Yahoo would change, the search company stressed that most of the functionality around the search would stay the same. Web services product SearchMonkey is a notable exception: that service shutters effective October 1.

"As a result, third party custom result apps, infobar apps, and data services will no longer appear on Yahoo!'s search results," product manager Natasha Fattedad wrote in a blog post announcing the move.

Yahoo would continue to offer its Search BOSS, YQL, and Site Explorer tools, although the company said it was still evaluating others, and would charge for access to some of them.

The fact that Yahoo's development tools will remain should not be too surprising: in essence, the Microsoft deal only really covered the search results portion of Yahoo. Most of Yahoo's other services were unaffected.

Paid search accounts would also begin the transition to Microsoft's adCenter platform this week as well. Current Yahoo Search Marketing customers would be prompted to create adCenter accounts through a transition portal, and Yahoo and Microsoft hope to have this portion of the transition completed by the end of the year.

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