Microsoft has announced on Bing Developer Blog this Thursday that they are transitioning the Bing Search API over to the Windows Azure Marketplace over next few months and as a result the Search API service would no longer remain Free.
The Search API subscription will start at $40/ month and will include 20,000 queries. According to Microsoft:
- With the transition, Bing Search API developers will have access to fresher results, improved relevancy, and more opportunities to monetize their usage of the Search API. To offer these services at scale, we plan to move to a monthly subscription model. Developers can expect subscription pricing to start at approximately $40 (USD) per month for up to 20,000 queries each month.
- The transition will begin in several weeks and will take a few months to complete. During the transition period, developers will be encouraged to try the Bing Search API for free on the Windows Azure Marketplace, before we begin charging for the service.
- At this time, you can continue using Bing Search API 2.0 free of charge. After the transition period, Bing Search API 2.0 will no longer be available for free public use, and instead developers can continue accessing the API on the Windows Azure Marketplace.
The decision is criticized by various Small and Non-profit developers/companies however Bing Team has assured that more details on this is coming soon:
We are absolutely thinking about ways to enable smaller scale applications to keep experimenting with the API. Please stay tuned for more details over the next several weeks.