The Library of Congress announced the successor to Thomas.gov (the current site to access congressional information). Congress.gov will eventually provide access to the same information as Thomas.gov, and more; however, Congress.gov provides easier access to the data via a series of APIs.
Locu, one of CNN’s hot startups to watch, has released an API that exposes Locu’s database of business information to third party developers. Locu launched the Locu API at Tech Disrupt SF 2012 and drew immediate attention. The API allows developers to retrieve real-time business data (e.g. venue information, pricelists, menus, etc.) and integrate the data into existing applications. Locu’s index crawls the web for business data, and the API makes that data available to other websites and applications.
It used to be that integrating data across different applications required an unnatural act involving complicated pieces of middleware. In recent times, accomplishing that act has become easier thanks to lighter-weight middleware based on standard Web services and RESTful APIs. But even still, accomplishing that task still requires the skills of a developer. In contrast, the next revolution in data integration is going to be characterized by business users integrating data across applications on their own at will.
Muvi is a social movie platform where users can access information on movies and celebrities, watch actual trailers and even interact with other users who may have similar movie interests. In addition, users can ‘like’ a video, see it’s popularity, win points and badges and become a fan of a celebrity, engaging with them via tweets. The application supports four languages and provides information on over 100,000 movies and 1 million celebrities from both Hollywood and Bollywood.
SureChem, traditionally a chemical patent search site, responded to its “customers’ requests for a direct pipeline to patent chemistry data that gave them batch access, the ability to easily integrate with internal tools, and no limitations on how they accessed or use the data” with the launch of SureChemDirect. According to SureChem founder, Nicko Goncharoff, the SureChemDirect API “enables users to directly search [the SureChem] database” for chemical patents and chemical structures within their own toolkits.
As more organizations begin to think about data as a business asset versus a burden then needs to carried, many of them are become more cognizant of that fact that data only has real value when it’s shared. After all, nobody is going to spend money on data they can’t access. The trouble is everybody seems a little conflicted about how to best go about doing that.
One of the bigger challenges with anything having to do with software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications is how quickly they can sprawl out of control. Before most organizations realize it they wind up with multiple silos of SaaS applications that are even more difficult to integrate than traditional enterprise applications.
The web’s largest video site has added a new personalization feature to its YouTube API. Sure to be misunderstood as a privacy concern, the service now lets applications access viewing history for authenticated users. Amazon also made two announcements related to its storage and database services. That and 19 new APIs round out today in APIs.
Back in May I wrote about the race for either unified APIs or API standards to bridge the growing number of APIs in specific industries or areas. Unified APIs are created by a third party provider to bridge multiple APIs, while API standards would potentially create an industry-wide standard of how APIs should operate.
Last week I had the pleasure of attending the O’Reilly Strata Conference in New York City, and sat in on a very important keynote from Drew Conway and Jake Porway about their project, Data Without Borders.
Data Without Borders is looking to match non-profits in need of data analysis with freelance and pro bono data scientists who can work to help them with data collection, analysis, visualization, or provide decision support.