Today in APIs: Facebook Enables Groups for Games, Kekanto's There's a Map for That and 20 New APIs

Greg Bates
Nov. 16 2012, 03:15PM EST

Facebook allows groups to be formed in a new and interesting way. Kekanto reveals Brazilian local search with Google Maps. Plus: Winners of Google Analytics Hackathon, get paid via the Active.com Campgrounds API, and 20 new APIs.

Facebook Creates API for Groups in Apps and Games

Facebook is making it possible for groups of users to form around common interests, notably games, according to its developer blog, announcing the beta version. Writing on the blog, Shireesh Asthana explained this goes a step beyond the groups created by gamers,

Apps and games can now create and manage Groups via the Graph API to help people connect and share their experiences. To date, many gamers create their own Groups to connect with friends and share tips and tricks about the games they play together. Now games can seamlessly create and invite players who may not know each other outside of the game to join Groups around clans or other joint activities. Groups can facilitate community interaction and drive deeper connections among players.

The groups have all the functionality of groups already available in games. The difference is that these new groups powered by the Facebook API aren't controlled by the game developers. Brittany Darwell of InsideFacebook outlined the fascinating broader implications beyond games.

Outside of games, some lifestyle applications might want to integrate groups. For instance, an app like Goodreads might want to allow users to form groups around their book clubs. Fitness apps like Endomondo might do the same for running clubs or teams training together. Fantasy sports apps would also seem to have a good use case.

According to a comment on the article, the game Prates Saga is among the first to be testing it out.

One key reason for the API is that building a community raises the likelihood a user will stay connected and keep playing, which presents better monetarization opportunities.

Kekanto Reveals Brazilian Local Search with Google Maps

Google Maps
Kekanto, based in Sao Paulo, has started offering local search guides for users who want to explore cities, meet new people and share ideas. As the Googledvelopers blog author Carlos Cuesta explained, Google staff visited Kekanto as a stop on their world tour. Kekanto fills the gap left by foreign guide books and content.

Kekanto was started when the founders realized that US-based local search guides were not really gaining traction with users when exported to Latin America. To make sure that users connected with a product made for them, Kekanto puts an emphasis on hiring managers on the ground that are native residents of their target cities across Latin America. Sharing a successful formula used by other local guides, the site takes a Google Map centric approach to drive activity on the site. The site also uses theĀ Google Places APIto provide local search results.

Kekanto ads the ability to view public transit layers, see business photos in custom marker icons and provides local search results with the Google Places API. In the video on tnhe post, co-founder Alan Kajimoto gives a live demonstration of how it works. He searched for "barbecue" in Sao Paulo and they came right up on a map with a list of them. All the contact information plus reviews are available, along with the ability to write your own reviews. I'll be right over!

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Facebook introduces API for apps and games to create groups for users

20 New APIs

Today we had we had 20 new APIs added to our API directory including a band and musician online platform, a website creation and hosting service, an educational institution operations support service, a due diligence service, a polish border crossing and tax information services, a human genetic structure data service, a publication influence metrics service, a german letter mailing service and a natural language personal assistant application. Below is more details on each of these new APIs.

BandpageBandpage API: Bandpage is an online platform for musicians, bands, fans, and the music industry can connect and interact. BandPage lets musicians manage their online presence by updating and sharing info, music, videos, photos, and shows online.

The Bandpage API allows developers to access and integrate the functionality of Bandpage with other applications and to create new applications. Some example API methods include managing account and band information, creating and sharing music and other files, and retrieving information about bands.

BaseKitBaseKit API: BaseKit is a website creation service that provides users with their own domain and the ability to customize their site without the need for coding. Users can start with a template and then customize it by dragging and dropping text, images, and videos. For those who wish to use them, CSS and HTML5 are supported as well. BaseKit includes cloud hosting, so all of the website's hosting needs are taken care of. All of BaseKit's functionality is accessible programmatically using SOAP calls.

CampusLinkCampusLink API: The service provides operational support for the activities of colleges, schools, and other educational institutions. Specific services include custom online admissions forms for new student recruitment and integration of current student record databases and learning management systems (LMSs) such as Blackboard and Moodle for delivery of curriculum. Merchant services support operation of a school bookstore and other direct selling activities.

API methods support creation of applications for student interactions, such as inquiries and applications for admissions and financial aid, with review workflows to process submissions. Methods also support interactions with current students such as student record updates, integration with LMS curriculum management, and ad hoc communications via online chat and phone response.

DuedilDuedil API: Duedil is a provider of private company information for due diligence. Duedil allows users to identify, compare, and screen potential suppliers and clients and track private company performance.

The Duedil API allows developers to access and integrate the Duedil functionality and data with other applications. Some example API methods include searching companies and retrieving company information.

GranicaGranica API: Granica is a Polish government website that provides information useful to people crossing the border into or out of Poland. Granica offers two APIs, both of which make use of SOAP calls. One provides users with information on waiting times at the border. The other allows foreign shoppers to calculate the VAT (Value-Added Tax) or GST (Goods and Services Tax) they paid while shopping in Poland so that they can be reimbursed.

H-InvDBH-InvDB API: The service provides access to the H-Invitational Database (H-InvDB) of human genes and genetic structure. The database documents research analyzine all human gene transcripts with annotations from the service provider describing genetic structures, observed variants, and highly detailed interactions of genetic sequences and processes.

API methods support search against the database by individual gene identifier, keywords in description text, location on on a particular chromosome or in relation to other genes, and more. Methods

ImpactStoryImpactStory API: The service provides a number of indicators for the social impact of published works, including traditional scholarly papers but also blog posts and other more casual publications. It is part of a movement for altmetrics intended to indicate affects of an author's publications on a discipline based on statistics like number of times a work is cited by other authors, how often it is downloaded and saved, and the frequency of conversations in social media outlets about the work. Code embedded in the web version of a work updates the service's statistics when that work is accessed, leading to a cumulative measure of its overall popularity and potential influence.

API methods begin with embedded identifiers for the work and the namespace where it is published. Methods allow retrieval of cumulative influence statistics, or altmetrics, by combining data about the work from a number of tracking services. Methods also support grouping of related individual works into collections to be tracked as a whole.

L-Vin PostL-Vin Post API: L-Vin Post is a German service for sending letters to individuals or entire mailing lists. Users submit their letters online, and L-Vin Post then prints, stamps, and mails those letters. L-Vin Post offers a SOAP-based programmatic interface so that users can connect other software to their service. Currently, L-Vin Post only ships letters within Germany, and their website is provided solely in German.

Maluuba Natural LanguageMaluuba Natural Language API: Maluuba is a phone assistant app that uses natural voice recognition technology to turn users commands into actions. It can work with features such as calendar, reminders, weather, search, voice calls, email and more. The Maluuba API works across two main functionalities; interpreting the meaning of phrases and finding normalized values for dates and times. The API uses RESTful calls and responses are formatted in JSON.

mEDRAmEDRA API: mEDRA is the multilingual European Registration Agency of Digital Object Identifiers (DOI). The DOI is a standard for persistently identifying a piece of intellectual property on a digital network and associating it with metadata in a structured, extensible way.

Web services are provided for uploading files to the registry, registering files for DOIs, and retrieving metadata for files in the registry. These services are accessible using mEDRA's SOAP-based API. The mEDRA website is provided in German, English, and Italian.

Oxilion AntispamOxilion Antispam API: Oxilion is a Dutch company that provides domain registration and web hosting services. They provide an anti-spam service free to customers who register domains through them, but the service can also be bought separately. Oxilion Antispam claims to block more than 98% of spam and viruses. Users get to decide what to do with captured spam. Oxilion Antispam can be integrated with customers' existing websites using a SOAP API. The Oxilion website is provided solely in Dutch.

paysafecardpaysafecard API: The service provides secure online payments for e-commerce and other online transactions via websites and mobile apps. A buyer establishes a confirmed account balance with the service prior to making the purchase and receives a voucher with a personal 16-digit PIN. The buyer can then enter the PIN to complete the purchase and release funds to the seller. The exchange is completed without entering personal data and storing it on a device or releasing it to the seller.

API methods support identifying a specific customer account with the payment service and submitting a current purchase transaction for payment against the account. Methods also support customer authorization of the payment and processing the transaction through release of funds to the seller. The API provides for notification of transaction completion to both buyer and seller.

PostCoderPostCoder API: The service provides lookup and validation of U.K. physical addresses for web applications that accept user input addresses. It compares data entered by a user against continually updated postcode address file (PAF) data from the British Royal Mail service, GeoData, and other authoritative sources of valid physical or delivery addresses. This validation improves delivery performance by ensuring that addresses provided by users actually exist and are correctly formatted. The same functions are available either as an installed product using local data or an interactive web service.

API methods support queries submitting character strings for a postcode and thoroughfare address as entered by the user and validate the address indicated, then return the correct version according to the Royal Mail or other recognized authorities. Where no exact match is found, the API returns an array of valid addresses nearest the entered location, allowing the application to perform further processing to select one of them.

SeaZone HydroViewSeaZone HydroView API: The service provides marine mapping with configurable images showing depth and topographic characteristics of the world's oceans based on detailed bathymetric data. Requests to the Web Map Tile Service (WMTS) can be embedded to generate images of a global location and the surrounding ocean. Depth and terrain features of the ocean floor are represented as aids to marine navigation, exploration, and research.

API methods support submission of a global location, stated in the request as global tile row and column plus zoom level. The API generates and returns a PNG image of the land and ocean floor topography at the specified location, represented as a digital terrain model with shaded relief and depth readings (soundings).

Spark DevicesSpark Devices API: Spark offers a service that enables users to connect their lights to the Internet in order to control them from the computer, a mobile, or tablet.

The Spark API allows developers to access and integrate the functionality of Spark with other applications and to create new applications. Public documentation is not available; interested developers should sign up for more information: http://www.sparkdevices.com/api.

SPOT Shared PageSPOT Shared Page API: The service provides capabilities to upload one-way messaging from remote locations to a feed accessible by others. It transfers message data via satellites of the global positioning system (GPS) to allow hikers and others in remote terrain to report progress and emergency situations to those monitoring the service from distant locations. Messages post to an established feed for access in varying amounts and timeframes suited to specific monitoring needs.

API methods support retrieval of the latest message in a specified feed or all messages uploaded over a specified date range. For more comprehensive access, the API gives access to the most recent 50 messages or the entire feed in pages of 50 messages.

SubtleDataSubtleData API: SubtleData is a service that enables applications to "speak" to point-of-sale (POS) systems in a variety of retail settings.

The SubtleData API allows developers to access and integrate the data and functionality of SubtleData with other applications and to create new applications. Some example API methods include managing prices, managing product information, and retrieving a variety of calls.

TomTom GeocodingTomTom Geocoding API: The service generates precise geolocation and mapping coordinates and standardized addresses based on user or application input specifying a location in varying formats. It also provides information relevant to the location, including businesses and other organizations nearby, geographic features, and places of interest. The precision of geolocation is influenced by the detail of data submitted to the service. General information about the location will return a neighborhood, postal code, or street, while more specific information can be resolved to a precise physical address.

API methods support submission of known location data, either as free text or structured parameters. Optional parameters include the street or thoroughfare, the section or specific spot along that thoroughfare, the postal code, and the district or neighborhood, city, state or province, and any other administrative zone (e.g., a county). Depending on the completeness of the request, the API returns mapping specifications for either a general area or a precise physical address in standard format. Methods allow either individual submission of a single location or batch submission of a group of distinct locations.

TomTom Map ToolkitTomTom Map Toolkit API: The service provides map images for global locations to be transferred electronically as "tiles" that join together in a grid to display the complete map. Applications can submit location parameters identifying the area to be mapped, and the service breaks down image data for delivery to a single recipient or multiple recipients as a set of pre-rendered tiles allowing 18 zoom levels.

API methods support mapping requests specifying the boundaries of the tile locations to be mapped and the zoom level. Returned data provide pre-rendered tile images. Optional methods can also return travel routes and real-time traffic data as additional layers overlaying the map image.

WebyshotsWebyshots API: Webyshots is an online website screenshot service. Webyshots provides screenshots of websites/URLs, reports, and hosts the screenshots and information in the cloud.

The Webyshots API allows developers to access and integrate the functionality of Webyshots with other applications. Some example API methods include taking screenshots, retrieving screenshots, and returning information about screenshots.

Greg Bates A writer for Programmableweb since 2012, Greg is a freelance writer and a maniacal editor of dissertations and term papers. - Follow me on Google+

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Most of the new APIs you present here are very interesting. Spark for example seems very useful, it will save a lot of people like me how are always afraid that they left the lights on and keep go back to check.
L-Vin Post is also a great idea I think. It makes letters so easy. I can't wait to use it when it comes to the UK.
I already use Paysafecard a lot. I use it for most of my purchases on the web and I love it. It is safe, quick and easy.