Roll-your-own API service Usergrid has been acquired by API management company Apigee. Usergrid could potentially help Apigee reach out to mobile developers increasingly finding themselves needing APIs to interact with their apps. It’s part of a trend of developers not only being API consumers, but also API providers–at least privately to their own apps.
I saw a new acronym the other day, “SoLoMoClo,” which stands for Social, Local, Mobile, Cloud. The reason people are focused on these four categories are the multi-billion dollar ecosystems created by Facebook and Twitter in Social, Groupon in Local, iOS (Apple) and Android (Google) in Mobile, and Amazon and Salesforce in Cloud. I think we’ve only scraped the tip of the iceberg in these categories, and that a number of SoLoMoClo companies will break out in 2012.
Our directory recently passed 4,000 APIs, each one different than almost every other one. There is a single defining factor of all 4,000: in some way, they’re available for any developer to use. They’re public. There is a virtual ocean below our directory of APIs that are currently private. These APIs drive mobile apps, connect strategic partnerships and exist within organizations large and small to facilitate data sharing.
Some of the APIs in our directory look like cousins of the private API. Their documentation is only available by request, or access is only offered to approved partners. And increasingly, there is a paid barrier to many we list. In some cases, the entire business is an API or collection of APIs.
This week we had 40 new APIs added to our API directory including a social trip planning service, content sharing service, startup financing community, website video recording tool, food review and sharing service, and a mobile marketing service. Below are more details on each of these new APIs.
Food-sharing mobile photo app Foodspotting had an API since day one. Of course, every mobile app has an API, at least if it needs to store or retrieve non-trivial data. Most of those interfaces stay hidden away, private APIs with only that single, internal audience. Foodspotting, on the other hand, signed Zagat as an early partner and now also has OpenTable, among others, using its Foodspotting API. The company is not exactly making it widely available for any developer, though the documentation is public, planting it in a vast grey area that’s becoming increasingly common.
It’s been a quick transition from app provider to API provider for photo-sharing Instagram and its Instagram API. Today the company launched a new Instagram Real-time API, which provides access to the site’s content via webhooks as photos are added that match pre-determined criteria.