When Facebook announced its timeline partners yesterday, there were many familiar names on the list. Some were especially familiar to us because, in addition to now adding their “actions” to Facebook, they also provide APIs to access data created by their users.
Public APIs have given rise to applications that we could not have imagined a few years back. All the stakeholders in the API ecosystem have benefited, right from organizations providing public APIs, to API consumers and the end user that has been given mashups that combine the best of many APIs. However positive this may sound, it is important to look at instances where APIs end up playing spoilsport in their own little way. This post tries to explore some of them.
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.
Are you familiar with Challenge.gov? If not, let’s take a second and catch you up on one of the most awesome things our government has decided to do. For the uninitiated, Challenge.gov is U.S. General Services Administration’s effort to crowdsource some of our modern problems through contests and competitions. Think of it as a nation-wide science fair for developers. Pretty cool right?
Discussion of Google’s recent acquisition of Jambool has largely centered around its virtual currency platform, Social Gold. The power behind that platform comes in the form of the Social Gold API. Again, Google has bought a company whose API is central to its success.
When Facebook announced the Graph API in April, it was generally accepted by the developer community as a huge step towards open social data on the Web. Last week, Facebook brought its technology to iOS by introducing a new version of the Facebook SDK for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad enhanced with the Graph API and OAuth 2.0 protocol. Together with the already available Facebook SDK for Android, you can now utilize both APIs and build social apps across two major mobile platforms.
Groupon, which calls itself a “social commerce site,” is one of many online services that help consumers pool their buying power to get great deals. However, few companies can share Groupon’s experience of attracting $135 million dollars from the same venture capital funds that helped grow Facebook and Zynga. To help third-party developers and affiliate members get the word out about its daily specials, Groupon has released a publicly available API.
Facebook has just introduced several new elements for its platform at F8, the annual conference for Facebook developers. The web has been abuzz about the implications of Facebook’s latest move towards making its platform available on as many web sites as possible.
If you know how to develop mashups then you may be in line to win some very big prizes. To get a sense of just how much money and how many prizes, take a look at the ProgrammableWeb Contest Guide and you’ll find that there have been more than 45 mashup contests thus far.