Microsoft has announced that it's going to change its Bing Search API—a service offered to developers to allow them to integrate Web search capabilities into their applications and sites—from a free service into a paid offering. Over the next few months, the service will move to join Microsoft's Translator API as one of the growing number of applications and data sources available in the Azure Marketplace, the online repository for Software-as-a-Service offerings.
The company has released what it describes as "approximate" pricing for the service: $40 per 20,000 queries per month. Microsoft has not at this time said if there will be any introductory or free tier for low volume users. Though this rate compares favorably with Google's search API pricing—$5 per 1,000 queries—Google permits 100 queries per day for free. Microsoft's translation API similarly has a free tier, allowing translation of 2 million characters per month without charge.
In moving to a paid service, Redmond says that it will be able to offer fresher, more relevant results, with greater monetization opportunities. The paid service will also require some integration work by developers to accommodate some small changes in the API.