SimpleGeo APIs Closed, But Places Data is Open

Push notification startup Urban Airship is closing the doors on all three APIs from the geo infrastructure company it acquired in October. The data behind one of the APIs, SimpleGeo Places, will be maintained by Factual and become part of its Factual API. Other SimpleGeo functionality is being folded into Urban Airship's Platform.

When SimpleGeo launched its first API for geo storage, we called it the location database we've wanted. Creating and tuning geographic databases is tricky. SimpleGeo's system is fast and it provides a simplified interface that developers are used to accessing.

The developer-focused solution is what made the most senses about the Urban Airship acquisition. Its main product, which sends push notifications to mobile devices, is oriented toward developers. It helps make a complex problem much simpler, so developers are willing to pay for it.

But not enough developers were willing to pay enough, according to Urban Airship CEO Scott Kveton. However, it's not going away completely. "We're going to integrate the storage infrastructure. We want to be able to associate the lat/long data. It's going to be integral to our platform moving forward," Kveton said.

It was a desire for focus that led to the decision to close the APIs, as Kveton wrote in Urban Airship's blog post:

In order to deliver on this aggressive vision in the shortest amount of time possible, we need to focus our product development efforts. So, after lots of internal discussion and customer conversations, we will wind down the availability of the current versions of Places, Context, and Storage over the next few months. We will do everything we can to minimize the impact to customers as we look to end the availability of these services on March 31, 2012.

Factual PlacesSimpleGeo Places customers will be transitioned to the Factual Places API. The data itself remains exactly the same, as SimpleGeo chose Factual in September to provide the SimpleGeo Places data.

When Factual added its millions of local results in September 2010, we said it could be the go-to location database. The company has continued to impress with new features, such as "crosswalk," which links place IDs from different services to act as a sort of location Rosetta Stone.

Be sure to read the next Mapping article: SimpleGeo Storage Alternative Launched in Two Days