Bing Launches Its Paid Search API, But Will Still Offer A Free Tier

Just about a month ago, Microsoft announced that it would end free access to its Bing Search API and start charging a minimum of $40 per month for the service. Today, the company is officially launching the Bing Search API on its Windows Azure Marketplace, but unlike its previous announcement, the company has decided to continue to offer a free tier as well. Developers will still be able to make up to 5,000 queries per month for free. This, says the Bing team, will still allow most existing developers to use the service for free.

For developers who need more than 5,000 queries, pricing starts at $20 per month for 10,000 queries and increases all the way up to the top tier of 2.5 million queries for $5,000 month. This API gives developers access to web, image, news and video search results. There is also a cheaper web results-only version of the Bing API that starts at $13 per month for 10,000 queries.

The Bing team also announced that it made some changes to the API’s terms of use. These changes, says Microsoft, “now allow greater flexibility to re-order and blend results so that you have greater control over how Bing data is integrated into services and applications.”

Developers will have to buy access to the API through the company’s Azure Marketplace, which also offers access to various other data sources and applications that can run on the company’s Azure cloud computing platform.

Until now, developers had virtually unrestricted access the Bing Search API. This, is some ways, gave Bing an advantage over Google, which only gives developers a free quota of 100 queries per day.