Today Google launched Google Buzz, a new service taking aim at social platforms like Facebook and Twitter by providing the ability to share links, photos and status updates directly from your Gmail account. And right off the bat Google has released the accompanying API:
We believe that the social web works best when it works like the rest of the web - many sites linked together by simple open standards. Rather than launching with a one-off API, we see Buzz as a tremendous opportunity to work with the community to create and support open protocols for the next generation of social web apps and websites. To kick things off, Buzz is launching with support for public activity feeds and offers users the option to connect their favorite sites to their Buzz activity Feed using open protocols.
There are going to be many ways for developers to access Buzz: Atom, AtomPub, Activity Streams, PubSubhubbub, OAuth, MediaRSS, Salmon, the Social Graph API, PortableContacts, and WebFinger. It's quite an open Stack. Initially this is read-only, but read-write APIs are coming soon. We've setup a Google Buzz API profile to track these updates.
CSMonitor have posted a nice writeup explaining how Google Buzz works, and how it compares to similar services:
How is Google Buzz different from Facebook and Twitter? In many ways it's very similar. Users can post new buzz by sharing links, photos, videos, and status updates. You can comment on and "like" friends' postings just as on Facebook, and send @ messages to get specific users' attention much like on Twitter.
Google Buzz's algorithms are constantly analyzing users' preferences - what they like and dislike, what their friends are sharing, and who they're interacting with. If a bunch of your friends are passing around a link or talking with a person, Buzz will shoot you a recommendation.
Marshall Kirkpatrick at ReadWriteWeb notes how Google Buzz will use these open standards to try and build a broad social Platform:
Google Buzz was presented as a destination site, but a look at its APIs and developer roadmap indicate that it may actually intend to be a platform - the central hub for a world of distributed social networking. "This is a downpayment on where we're going with the open, social web," Google Open Web Advocate Chris Messina told us.
People will build services on top of analyzing your public Buzz activity. They will build new applications for publishing to Buzz, just like the Twitter ecosystem has today. Planned support for things like the Salmon commenting standard mean that comments left on Buzz could appear out on blog posts around the web, and comments on blog posts could be viewed inside of Buzz when the post links are shared.
With its focus on open and existing standards, developers should find Google Buzz API fairly easy to get started with. There is also an opportunity to mould the API as it develops - Google are looking to work with the community, and encourage those with ideas and feedback to use the Google Buzz API discussion group.