Both Google and Yahoo have released interesting APIs based on XML feeds and the HTTP protocol.
Under a year ago (I think), Google launched the GData API uses Atom or RSS and will read/download, update, edit, or delete the data. APIs are available for many of their products that use RSS or Atom feeds such as Google Calendar. This will allow people to create their own applications that leverage some of their products.
However, the more interesting product seems to have just arrived come from Yahoo. They launched Yahoo Pipes (I was playing with it last night but this morning they have the following message: “Our Pipes are clogged! We’ve called the plumbers!”). Hopefully they get things fixed shortly so others will be able to check it out.
Here’s what Tim O’Reilly has to say about it:
Using the Pipes editor, you can fetch any data source via its RSS, Atom or other XML feed, extract the data you want, combine it with data from another source, apply various built-in filters (sort, unique (with the “ue” this time:-), count, truncate, union, join, as well as user-defined filters), and apply simple programming tools like for loops. In short, it’s a good start on the Unix shell for mashups.
For those of you who use unix, you know that pipes (|) allow you to send the output of one command to another so you can chain lots of logic together. I like the idea a lot and it has a nice interface, much of which will have a learning curve…but not as big as Google’s since it leverages a drag and drop interface. This may mean more applications from creative people that are not as familiar with programming…which is always a good thing because it good ideas and products tend to build on existing ones.
Pretty interesting stuff. I can’t wait to see what people do with it…I also wonder if people will do things like remove ads from feeds and aggregate feeds to create their own minisites they can repurpose to create splogs or other similar sites…or if the original content creators will take any sort of action to prevent this from happening (I wonder if Yahoo uses a different user-agent which can be specified in the robots.txt file, for example).
Yahoo employee, Jeremy weighs on Yahoo Pipes in as well as Google employee Matt Cutts.
For you developers building local applications, Niall Kennedy brought my attention to a location extractor:
My favorite operator is the location extractor which analyzes an item’s text attempting to identify addresses, locations, or the URLs of popular mapping services.