The Latest News On The API Economy

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OnStar Unlocks RelayRides as First API Partner

In January, OnStar announced an API would allow third party developers to integrate their applications with OnStar's platform. Last week, General Motors announced its first partner for API integration: RelayRides. RelayRides is "[t]he world's largest peer to peer carsharing marketplace." The partnership with GM allows OnStar users to leave their keys in their cars when renting a car to a fellow RelayRider. The renter can then unlock the car with a smartphone app or by responding to a text message.

The Humanoid API: It Does the Work For You

Your time is certainly worth more than 5 dollars an hour; why would you waste an hour performing a simple task that you could outsource for less than 5 dollars. Humanoid, a cloud workforce, is hoping that you see things this way. Humanoid has a 30,000+ person workforce on tap, waiting to perform all of your simple, yet crucial tasks. The company has developed a workflow that allows several workers to simultaneously perform the same task, then cross-references the results to ensure accuracy. If a discrepancy exists within the results, the task is sent to a highly rated worker for review. Humanoid provides the Humanoid API to allow developers to integrate this functionality into existing platforms.

API Program for Air Transport Takes Off

SITA, the leading IT provider to the air transport industry, invited airlines and developers to join them in launching an API program, including the SITA Boarding Pass API, to increase efficiency and innovation in air transport. SITA's research technology team, SITA Lab, launched last week in hopes "to enable airlines, airports and other industry players to extend existing IT processes by harnessing the application developer community to provide new apps for the industry and world travelers."

Popcarte: Wish You Were Here

Popcarte is a service for consumers, taking their uploaded photo and turning it into a card of the customer's choosing, from postcards to invitations to thank you notes, to special occasions, and then mails it out worldwide. The Popcarte API lets developers integrate the service into their apps.

Bus Information API on Time for London Olympics

Transport for London (TfL) expanded the open Transport for London API last week to include real-time data on bus information. Bus information that is usually posted in bus shelters is now available via the API. TfL already uses the data feeds that will be available via the API for its internal SMS service and TfL website. Londoners have already benefited from available data via text message updates regarding bus schedules. Now, developers outside TfL gain access to the same data TfL texts to Londoners on a daily basis.

Beat the Traffic Paves a Social Road for Transportation

In 2011, we learned that even our cars and trucks were going "social" when announced its partnership with Toyota. However, the social capabilities of the partnership were limited in scope (car diagnostics, tune up reminders, etc.). What if your car could prevent you from driving a certain route because it knew what areas were traffic-heavy? That car sounds "social" in a fuller sense; it might be possible with the new Beat the Traffic API.

WorldMate Launches Email Parsing API

WorldMate, the world's largest mobile itinerary management and booking service, launched the WorldMate API this week. The e-mail parsing API extracts travel data (e.g. confirmation e-mails, key travel information, airport codes, etc.) and sends the information back to the developer's platform. Providing such information opens WorldMate's data to a new realm of applications. WorldMate has already seen adoption from developers outside the itinerary management and booking space. Early examples include expense reporting, flight status, and compliance apps. WorldMate CEO, Jean Tripier, commented: "We are overwhelmed with the immediate popularity of the API across a wide spectrum of developers."

Put Your Data To Work

The ability to analyze information and use the results to make more informed decisions is something that interests a lot of people. Developers, publishers, and small to large business owners all collect an overwhelming amount of data pertaining to the work that they do. Employing a staff of analysts to sift through the onslaught of what can sometimes seem to be useless information is obviously one way to solve this problem, ‘Machine Learning’ is another.

APIs Enables Alaska Airlines to Fly Higher and Grow Faster

Even though Alaska Airlines was one of the first airlines to offer an iPhone application, allowing travelers to check-in and use their phone as mobile boarding pass, early efforts were essentially just "screen-scraped" from the companies website, providing a very poor user experience, not really delivering on the process of the mobile web. Since you're a ProgrammableWeb reader, you can probably guess what the company needed. After all, mobile has fueled API growth.

Could This API End Road Rage?

How many times have you been stuck in traffic behind a car circling the block looking for parking? Have you ever been that car circling the block? Imagine how much time (and gas) could be saved if there was an easier way to find the perfect place to park. Santa Monica-based ParkingInMotion, a developer of parking information apps for mobile devices, is working on making the process simpler. ParkingInMotion's mission is to improve the way drivers find, compare, and pay for parking. The ParkingInMotion APIs provide access to the basic data in the ParkingInMotion database, as well as the optional higher level Rate Calculator and ‘ParkMe’ recommender.

"Car as a Platform" Wars: GM Joins Ford

Today OnStar, a GM company focused on in-car communication and security, announced what it calls an API. Though not yet released, nor totally open and perhaps not even an API, the move is certainly part of "car as a platform." Building apps for cars is a movement that hasn't seen much progress since Ford's announcement two years ago. Though there is still a lot of potential, especially with the car culture in much of the US, some have questioned whether safety will stifle in-car apps.

Next Generation Travel Apps Need Locations Based Content

It's funny that when I talk to people in the travel industry about mashups and APIs, most of them get glazed looks in their eyes. Throw in terms like location based services or geospatial awareness and I've lost them. What most of them don't realize is that the majority of the travel apps that are starting to come out, both online and for mobile are mashups that are relying on location awareness and geospatial data. Many of them, like Pocketvillage are a consumer interface on top of a variety of APIs all normalized for a single homogenous user experience. That's right, it's essentially a metasearch tool that pulls in content from a variety of sources including Viator, GetYourGuide, TourCMS, Rezgo, AirBnB, and many others. What differentiates a metasearch like Pocketvillage from other metasearch applications however, is the fact that with location based services enabled, Pocketvillage can return content based on your current location. The issue right now however is that not all geo data is equal. Not all APIs provide geolocation information and some return it based on different criteria.

The Complex and Potentially Lucrative World of Hotel APIs

There is no doubt that there is a lot of money to be made in travel.  Heck, travel (globally) accounts for over 12% of the World's GDP.  That is some serious coin.  You have an incredible idea for a web application that is going to make travellers love you and make you rich at the same time.  The question is... who should I connect with and why?  Here is a quick run down on the pros and cons of connecting with the likely, and not so likely, hotel distribution partners.

The AirBNB Competitor That Already Has an API

Roomorama is not the only one in the person to person travel accomodations game.  The company is in a space that’s been well established by other players: CouchSurfing, Vacation Rentals By Owner and, of course, AirBnB. While there's an AirBNB API planned, the only room rental site that is currently public with its platform is the the Roomorama API.

AirBNB API Will Pay Developers With Affiliate Program

Popular room rental service AirBNB does not yet have an official AirBNB API. But signs point to one's existence, as well as an affiliate plan in place to pay developers for reservations booked through the API. If the company sticks with the plan as written now, developers will be able to make up to 10 million API calls per day before contacting AirBNB.