The New York Times Releases a Social Network API

The New York Times have just announced their latest Web Service API: TimesPeople. With this new API, the newspaper of record is giving developers access to their own Times-centric social network. This community feature, launched last spring, lets readers connect via their interest in the paper's content. The TimesPeople API now provides access to TimesPeople data for any user, including their profile, activities, news Feed and social network (our TimesPeople profile).

Releasing the TimesPeople API (now available) is a big step for us. Back when we first came up with TimesPeople, we were trying to answer the question, “How can we give back to the Social Web?” We realized that we could only represent the user in the context of The first step was aggregating a user’s public actions and making it possible to share those activities with other TimesPeople users. This didn’t really “give back” to the social Web, but now the API is available — and that means your TimesPeople data can be syndicated and used all over the Web.

As with the other Times' APIs, it's a RESTful web service that returns data as XML or JSON, requires an API Key, and is read-only.

To get you started the Times' team gives a couple of example apps including our Mashup of the Day today, a Gmail Gadget, a widget that pulls TimesPeople data into GMail.

New York Times TimesPeople Gadget

And the other, shown below, used TimesPeople API to get a list of a user’s activities, checks those activities via the Times' Article Search API to see where the user spends most time, and then charts it via the Google Chart API.


With this latest addition, the Times now offers eight APIs. This is a farily rapid pace of API releases given that they just launched their first API back in October.

If you've got an interest in this or any of the New York Times APIs, be sure to look into the Times Open, a full day developer event being hosted by the Times in NYC this Friday. While it looks very good (includes a keynote from Tim O'Reilly), it's currently sold-out and you'll have to get on the waiting list to attend.

Be sure to read the next News Services article: New York Times API Recap