How to Drink from the Google Buzz Firehose

Adam DuVander, July 27th, 2010

Google BuzzEvery single public message on Google Buzz, the content-sharing platform from the search giant, is now available to any developer. A similar, if much fatter, pipe is available from Twitter, but only for large partners paying big bucks. Accessing the “firehose” is about the same any other API, which makes it an easy way to get a lot of content quickly.

Webmonkey explained the terminology and its usefulness:

Google has added a feature to its Buzz API that publishes every activity as it happens in a single feed. On the social web, this is commonly called a “Firehose”–a syndication feed that publishes all public activities as they happen in one big, fat stream. It’s a lot to sift through, but app developers consider a firehose essential for incorporating real-time search results and real-time “trending” lists from a particular social service into their creations.

We love it when APIs (or new features of existing APIs) launch with example applications. It’s even better if there’s example code. Google provides both here, with the fun and simple Buzz Mood app. It simply looks for specific phrases (ie, “I love”, “I hate”) and ranks the general mood on Buzz. It runs on Google App Engine (our Google App Engine API profile), so the example code is written in Python.

To drink from the Buzz firehose, you’ll need to use PubSubHubbub, described in the video embedded below. Rather than traditional polling, you can subscribe to a hub and receive a “push” to your server when there’s something new. The Buzz documentation’s real-time updates section shows the specifics of using PubSubHubbub with Google Buzz.

In Google’s announcement, the company shared five launch partners. Each real-time service has a profile in our API directory: Collecta, Gnip, OneRiot, PostRank and SuperFeedr.

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2 Responses to “How to Drink from the Google Buzz Firehose”

July 29th, 2010
at 3:22 pm
Comment by: Twitter Streams: a Glimpse of Future Realtime APIs?

[...] APIs, especially those with realtime data. Another potential approach is seen in PubSubHubbub, as used by the Google Buzz firehose. Related ProgrammableWeb ResourcesLearn more Twitter API [...]

August 18th, 2010
at 9:16 am
Comment by: Buzz API is Buzzing with New Features

[...] than a month ago, Google made all public activities available via its “firehose.” Last week, the search giant updated the Buzz API again with several [...]

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Adam DuVander
Executive Editor, ProgrammableWeb. Author, Map Scripting 101. Lover, APIs.