The Latest News On The API Economy
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Data displayed on Google Maps are perhaps the most popular types of mashups today. Seeing things on a map helps you better understand, memorize and relate data to where you can physically find them. But is a map visualization suitable also for non-geographical data? Internet conference Web 2.0 created a Points of Control map showing a fantasy landscape of Internet companies, complete with markers and zoom levels.
The mashups included below all clarify mountains of information. Using APIs, they gather the data and show it to the user in a way that makes sense. In one case, it's a bar chart of emotions expressed over Twitter and other realtime search engines. Another takes your LinkedIn connections and displays them graphically. The other brings a handful of APIs to your iPhone, responding to your voice.
Ready to entertain those tired eyes? The mashups we've chosen all offer a unique ways to look at ordinary content. In one case, it's a way to visualize how quickly tweets are shooting around the Twitterverse. Another brings what might be all of the graffiti multimedia on the web to one place. And finally, enjoy the anachronism of watching your YouTube videos in an old timey television.
Google has released a new API for Fusion Tables, a Google Labs app that allows users to import, integrate, analyze, and visualize data in a variety of ways. The new API allows developers to programmatically perform a variety of tasks, including data import and export (more at our Google Fusion Tables API Profile). The API itself is integrated with several other Google APIs, including the Google Maps API and the Google Visualization API. In fact, developers can also leverage App Engine to easily develop data processing and analysis apps that easily integrate with various other Google APIs.
Chart APIs are useful and popular, and Google knows how to do them well, so they're continuously adding more features and options for customization to their Visualization API. The Google Code Blog recently highlighted a few of the newest features.
Google has just announced that its Visualization API now supports server-side data requests, such as in SQL databases and Excel spreadsheets. In essence, the API now supports an "open-wire" protocol that allows individuals and organizations to create visualizations directly from data on a server.
Dipity is an innovative web service that lets users create interactive multimedia timelines for anything from breaking news to Internet Memes. But the real action is behind the scenes with their extensive web service, which allows third parties to build and manage timelines programmatically (our Dipity API profile).
Swivel, along with its cousin IBM Research's Many Eyes, is helping make sharing, visualizing, and discussing data on the web fun and addictive. How? Take, for example, the following Swivel-hosted graph, which shows the Growth of Creative Commons Photos on Flickr to millions of photos.
Can we exploit the extraordinary ability that humans have to read faces to make sense of abstract data -- by rendering data as concrete facial features? That's a question raised by a recent ProgrammableWeb Mashup of the Day Pubmed Faceoff.
Google recently announced the new Google Earth Browser Plug-in, which brings the rich mapping and interactivity of the Google Earth application directly into the web browser, "bringing the full power of Google Earth to the web, embeddable within your own we site."
If you want to see in realtime what's going on Digg you can use their digg spy page. This popular Digg feature uses a dynamic Ajax UI to let you see diggs as they happen. And now it serves as a model for a growing number of mashups that use web APIs to give you a realtime window into activity on a variety of services.