GoodGuide is a service that we have been using as a family for a while. It attempts to analyze a product holistically & scientifically to produce a simple 1 to 10 rating of its "goodness." I am personally satisfied to see that the GoodGuide API will share this data with the world.
Many consumers would love to choose products based on their total goodness, but how can you possibly investigate all the companies and products that are out there? Can you the find time to check out their practices with regard to the environment, working conditions, manufacturing, or ingredients? Only a few people are driven to make that kind of time commitment, and a bunch of them got together to form GoodGuide.
Now that this information will be available programmatically, the potential to see good-ratings integrated on other platforms is tremendous. Imagine if Amazon decided to include GoodGuide's ratings? That would be a huge step forward in consumer empowerment. You know what might be even better: lots of smaller retailers using GoodGuide to better inform their customers. Could this happen with a few open source API implementations? Will the demand for this type of information be strong enough that e-commerce developers will want to offer good guide plug-ins that automatically pull each products good guide rating? I sincerely hope so.
There are 18 Green APIs and GoodGuide is the only recommendation engine to factor in holistic values. The API site has a long clear page detailing the only supported method, which is search. Requests are RESTful and responses come in XML format. Ratings can be found by product or company. Products can even be found by UPC code. The range of search metrics available should ease the task of integrating the ratings into an existing product database. Developers can even take a look at the full example implementations.