Today in APIs: Google Night Walk Uses Places API to Tour Marseille, and 6 New APIs

An inventive, inspiring use of the Google Places API. APIs at the heart of secure cloud apps. Plus: Apache "Olingo" becomes top level project, a database of 1 million syllabi allows you to study up, and 6 new APIs.

Using the Google Places API to Create a Virtual Tour of Marseille

Here's a chance to see an intimate view of a neighborhood in Marseille, a demonstration of how the Google Places API can be used.

As Nick Summers reports in The Next Web, Google has created the equivalent of a museum-like guided tour of Marseille complete with street view photos and audio,

A mini-map in the bottom left-hand corner displays your progress through the city and, if you’re feeling impatient, you can expand the tool and click on the route to instantly jump ahead. Certain hotspots trigger YouTube clips, Wikipedia extracts and photo galleries, creating a multi-layered experience that’s far more rewarding and engaging than Street View on its own.

The Google Knowledge Graph supplies context and information, while the Google Places API pulls in local data based on the user's location.

APIs at the Heart of Secure Cloud Apps

Reporting in Dark Reading, Ravi Ithal provides a quick overview of three steps to take in building secure APIs. These are, "Minimize the number of API end-points, Isolate components with clearly defined APIs between them," and "Come up with a security strategy at the application level first." I keeping with that third objective, he writes,

...for each exposed API end-point, add network security infrastructure as needed. At one extreme, you can choose just to protect the Internet-facing APIs, which allows ease of ongoing operations. At the other, choose to isolate all components and protect all APIs. This allows resiliency of the security infrastructure; if one server is compromised, the attacker cannot immediately get access to all of the other hosts. S/he has to find another vulnerability in one of the exposed APIs before taking over another connected server.

The hard part, he adds, is Scaling all this up for the protection mechanisms. But, he notes, that is still a lot simpler than coping with an attack without these practices embedded in the infrastructure. There are other details well worth keeping in mind. For example, after minimizing the exposed API endpoints, it is vital to review what is left exposed to verify that the remainder is indeed protectable.

API News You Shouldn’t Miss

6 New APIs

Today we had 6 new APIs added to our API directory including a bitcoin mining pool server information service, a customer support service, a fleet route scheduling service, a commercial building energy efficiency rating tool and a US building energy usage statistics and analysis service. Below are more details on each of these new APIs.

BTCDigBTCDig API: BTCDig is a server that allows people to pool both their efforts and their rewards for mining Bitcoins. BTCDig supports both GPU and FPGA/ASIC mining hardware. BTCDig's User Account API can retrieve a user's balance and stats as well as a miner's stats. The Pool Stats API can retrieve the pool's state and stats as well as round state and block statistics.

ReamazeReamaze API: Reamaze is a lightweight, brandable customer support service that allows users to respond to any type of customer message from their email account. Response templates help shorten response times, and built-in collision detection prevents duplicate responses. Users can create public knowledge bases and forums where customers can search for their own answers and offer feedback. Built-in reporting keeps users apprised of response times and conversation volume.

RoutificRoutific API: Routific is a tool for scheduling optimized routes for fleets of vehicles. It is designed to help reduce the number of trucks and drivers needed to complete routes as well as the total distance traveled. Users can input their data and let Routific optimize their schedules, or if they are already using another system, they can integrate with Routific's routing engine via API.

US DOE Asset ScoreUS DOE Asset Score API: The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy of the United States Department of Energy provides this API to help rate commercial buildings on energy efficiency according to its national standards. Using a variety of physical characteristics and likely usage, the tool can rate a building's energy efficiency, including evaluating its systems and identifying areas for possible upgrades.

US DOE Buildings Performance DatabaseUS DOE Buildings Performance Database API: The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy of the United States Department of Energy provides this API to share aggregate statistical information about energy performance on hundreds of thousands of commercial and residential buildings in the U.S. This API can be used to create your own applications and visualizations, and to estimate EUI, or energy use intensity, for buildings. EUI is measured in energy use per square foot per year.

UserEchoUserEcho API: UserEcho is a complete, brandable customer support solution for managing customer feedback. It comes with a live chat service for talking to potential customers and a ticketing support system for assisting current ones. UserEcho is compatible with Google Analytics, though it also provides its own feedback and comment reports and community contributor statistics.

UserEcho's Base API provides read-only access to data. The Advanced API allows users to create and maintain objects, but it is currently under development.