FullContact has announced the CardShark API. The CardShark API allows users to "to send images of business cards to FullContact, and...receive back a response containing transcribed structured contact data." The advantage the API method of optical character recognition over competitors lies in the ability to send contacts to devices and applications beyond the device that captured the initial picture. For instance, a user can snap a photo of a business card with a smartphone, but the contact information can be sent to "Salesforce, Highrise, or even your company’s home grown CRM system." The structured contact information arrives wherever the API was integrated and call was made.
FullContact launched out of TechStars Boulder 2011, and has grabbed the business world's attention. FullContact's goal consists of "solving the world's contact information problem." Now, with a series of APIs (like CardShark), FullContact can enhance the features of existing applications. FullContact hopes that the functionality of its apps and APIs will allow it to do for contacts what "Dropbox did for files and Evernote did for notes."
The CardShark API uses REST protocol and utilizes JSON and XML data formats. Business card images are sent to FullContact, and FullContact sends back structured contact data. FullContact returns the data via a specified webhook callback URL. The API can retrieve and process information from both sides of a business card.
Across industry verticals, business cards end up lost in the bottom of a briefcase, or irrelevant among thousands of other cards bound by a rubber band. Rarely do business cards arrive in an organized format in retrievable locations (e.g. email contacts, CRM, etc.). FullContact is well on its way to solving this business problem, and the CardShark API simplifies the process even further. While in Beta, the CardShark API is free and those interested can gain access at the developer page.