Four Twitter Mashups Available as One API

Adam DuVander
Jun. 15 2010, 12:30AM EDT

The company that released PageRank for Twitter has added several new calls to its API. Your applications can now build on top of the analysis from "big data" company InfoChimps--and it's free for limited usage. The sorts of tools we've seen in popular Twitter mashups are now part of the InfoChimps collection of Twitter API calls.

Here's a roundup of the APIs to mine Twitter data:

  • Trstrank: The PageRank-esque algorithm we covered previously
  • Wordbag: A list of "most common words" for a user with a twist. Universally-common words are essentially filtered out because InfoChimps compares a user's word choice to all of Twitter.
  • Influence: Gets the number of replies in and out for the user, along wiht the number of tweets and the age of the account. Analysis of influence is up to you.
  • Conversation: Provides a summary of public interactions between two users. Results are a list of tweets in which the first user replied to the second.

InfoChimps believes there's value in its curation of Twitter data. COO Joseph Kelly calls it one of their "most important assets" and they haven't been bashful about charging for it. The Trstrank API cost $150 per quarter when it launched. Now it is available, along with the calls listed above, for free up to 100,000 calls per month. Other plans start at $20 per month ($9 for the first three months), as shown below.

The pricing changes, according to Kelly, were based on developer response to Trstrank. InfoChimps considered the number of calls different types of developers would need. "We asked 'what level of developer would be making this level of calls,'" Kelly said. "For the free version, those are generally lightweight apps and should remain free."

Bulk Data vs. API

InfoChimps has been a strong proponent of getting--and providing--bulk access to data. Co-founder Phillip Kromer has previously complained about how government data is made available. "They spend all this time constructing web service apps around each data asset, based on their vacuum-conceived idea of what they think people will do with it," Kromer said. "Can we just start by making all the data available for FTP?"

Data dumps were the approach InfoChimps took, until it learned most developers prefer the bite-sized data. Kelly said this especially became apparent at Twitter's Chirp conference. Kromer went armed with a "briefcase full of data," but developers kept asking for an API.

Kromer sees advantages to an API over data: "The time to development is tiny. They're lightweight and realtime."

InfoChimps is now working to provide both types of access to data. Some partners, like PostRank, started off using the API, but discovered the need for bulk data. "We still want to keep both business models in mind," Kelly said.

Adam DuVander -- Adam heads developer relations at Orchestrate, a database-as-a-service company. He's spent many years analyzing APIs and developer tools. Previously he worked at SendGrid, edited ProgrammableWeb and wrote for Wired and Webmonkey. Adam is also the author of mapping API cookbook Map Scripting 101.

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