For a year or two, we’ve been using the Yahoo/YBoss/YDN Spelling Service API to provide spell suggestions for queries in our homegrown discovery layer. (Which provides UI to search the catalog via Blacklight/Solr, as well as an article search powered by EBSCOHost api).
It worked… good enough, despite doing a lot of odd and wrong things. But mainly it was cheap. $0.10 per 1000 spell suggest queries, according to this cached price sheet from April 24 2105.
However, I got an email today that they are ‘simplifying’ their pricing by charging for all “BOSS Search API” services at $1.80 per 1000 queries, starting June 1.
That’s 18x increase. Previously we paid about $170 a year for spell suggestions from Yahoo, peanuts, worth it even if it didn’t work perfectly. That’s 1.7 million querries for $170, pretty good. (Honestly, I’m not sure if that’s still making queries it shouldn’t be, in response to something other than user input. For instance, we try to suppress spell check queries on paging through an existing result set, but perhaps don’t do it fully).
But 18x $170 is $3060. That’s a pretty different value proposition.
Anyone know of any decent cheap spell suggest API’s? It looks like maybe Microsoft Bing has a poorly documented one. Not sure.
Yeah, we could role our own in-house spell suggestion based on a local dictionary or corpus of some kind. aspell, or Solr’s built-in spell suggest service based on our catalog corpus. But we don’t only use this for searching the catalog, and even for the catalog I previously found these API’s based on web searches provided better results than a local-corpus-based solution. The local solutions seemed to false positive (provide a suggestion when the original query was ‘right’) and false negative (refrain from providing a suggestion when it was needed) more often than the web-based API’s. As well, of course, as being more work on us to set up and maintain.