FullContact API Knows Everything About a Name

Romin Irani
Mar. 15 2012, 02:30PM EDT

William Shakespeare said “What’s in a name?” In the world of APIs, this question takes a completely different form. What if you were given the difficult task of taking a list of names and performing operations like splitting them up in first and last names, along with their titles? What if you had to determine what the name is from an email address? Difficult isn’t it? Well not if you use the FullContact API, who updated their Name API with various functions to help you do this.

Our earlier coverage on FullContact showed how you could use their API to enhance and update the address book in your application. Since then FullContact has released enhancements to the Name API and recently announced the Name Parser API that helps you convert unstructured name strings into structured JSON or XML.

Imagine having name with you and not sure what the last name or first name is. The Name Parser API will help you with exactly that. Consider the following query for the name string ‘smith john’:

https://api.fullcontact.com/v2/name/parser.json?q=smith%20john&apiKey=xxx

This would return a response as follows:

{
	"status": 200,
	"ambiguousName": "John Smith",
	"result": {
		"givenName": "John",
		"familyName": "Smith",
		"likelihood": 1
	},
	"region": "USA"
}

The FullContact Name API also has other interesting functionalities, depending on your task. Keep in mind that the API currently works on the US Census Data.

  • Name Normalization : This API takes a quasi structured name data (e.g. smith john mr) and will convert it into structured name data with fields like familyName, givenName, middleName, prefixes, suffixes and nicknames.
  • Name Deducer: This API takes an email address or a username and tries to deduce a structured name.
  • Name Similarity: This API compares two names and returns back a score indicating how similar they are.
  • Name Stats:  This API is very interesting. It takes different parameters like name, familyName and provides statistics ranging from estimated count of people in the United States with that name, rank of popularity of the name, mean age of people with that name.

FullContact also announced recent changes to its pricing. Commercial pricing starts at $99 per month (billable monthly) and a free plan will let you exercise the API before going to a commercial plan. Refer to the pricing page for more details.

Full Contact also has an iPhone App that lets you enhance your address book, in addition to an upcoming Microsoft Outlook FullContact Toolbar and an Application Gallery, that showcases various applications that have used the FullContact API.

Romin Irani Google Developer Expert Cloud 2014. Romin loves learning about new technologies and teaching it to others. Follow me on Google+

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