Yahoo on Tuesday said it is planning to make four new and enhanced interfaces available to independent developers in a move designed to tap into free marketing research.
The Web service Application Program Interfaces (APIs) are intended to enable developers to use and build on technology from Yahoo Photos, Calendar, MyWeb and Shopping.
The idea is to create a participatory environment that increases the relevance of Yahoo products and services for individual users and the greater community, the company said.
“Developers play an important role in helping to enhance Yahoo’s vast network of services,” said Ash Patel, chief product officer at Yahoo. “These new APIs along with new tools available on the Developer Network will continue to foster an environment of creativity and innovation that ultimately benefits Yahoo’s users.”
Streamlining Software Development
In the coming months, Yahoo will release a new Photo API to allow developers to build custom applications on top of its photo-sharing service. Yahoo is encouraging developers to create value-added features and products for its 34 million users.
Yahoo Shopping has enhanced its APIs with a new browse navigation feature that helps consumers narrow their product search by providing the user with a menu of sub-categories and product attributes.
A browse-oriented shopping experience with category- and attribute-based refinement can also be built, allowing users to drill down and obtain product results meeting their preferred product criteria.
Building Web 2.0
The Yahoo Calendar API is intended to enable developers to write applications that make it easier for users to access their Yahoo Calendar from other sites on the Web. Yahoo plans to make this new API available in the coming months.
An enhanced MyWeb 2.0 provides the ability to read from as well as write to MyWeb 2.0 and is intended to enable information to move seamlessly between MyWeb and other applications or devices. Yahoo also plans to make this new MyWeb 2.0 API available in the coming months.
This could be a key move for Yahoo, with its recent decision to focus more efforts into Web 2.0 initiatives rather than trying to dethrone Google in the search space.
Catering to Developers
Independent developers will also find new tools at the online Yahoo Developer Network. In addition to providing open Web services, the Yahoo Developer Network provides developers with access to documentation, reference guides, code examples and groups for each Yahoo property available on the network.
Yahoo offers up portions of its back end to developers because developers love getting their hands on code or data they couldn’t build on their own due to budgetary constraints, said Jason Dowdell, who operates MarketingShift, a Web site focused on media research and technology, and APIblog, a blog focused on APIs.
“Yahoo gives the developers the ability to make a name for themselves, benefiting their careers, and Yahoo receives valuable input from developers based on the applications they build,” Dowdell told TechNewsWorld.
The Future of R&D on the Web
Independent developers don’t have massive amounts of free time, so they focus on applications and tools that make their lives easier, Dowdell said, noting that “this is the future of R&D on the Web.”
The Yahoo Developer Network is launching an Application Gallery, where consumers can find applications that developers have built using the search giant’s APIs. The Application Gallery will provide a centralized location for established and new applications across Yahoo properties such as Maps, Flickr, Yahoo Music Engine and Search.