Guardian just launched a new API which will allow third-party developers to access and reuse the Guardian's content database in their own applications. The new API is part of the Guardian's new Open Platform, which, as of today, consists of the API and a Data Store, but the Guardian also announced that it plans to offer more services in the near future. The Data Store is a collection of high quality data sets which are curated by the Guardian and hosted on Google Docs.The
This move by the Guardian comes just about a month after the New York Times opened up its Article Search API, which also gives developers access to a complete set of the paper's content (Disclosure: RWW is a syndication partner of the NYT). The New York Times, however, provides access to a more varied set of data and includes specialized APIs for accessing its movie reviews, breaking news, or information about the U.S. Congress. Other news organizations like the BBC or NPR also offer similar APIs.
Data Store Uses Google Docs
The Data Store and its accompanying blog are more directly aimed at consumers. The Data Store houses a collection of all of the statistics that the newspaper has published. Unlike the New York Times, however, the Guardian does not yet provide an equivalent to the Data Visualization Lab. Interestingly, the Guardian chose Google Docs as its repository for this data. Here, for example, is the Guardian's spreadsheet with the U.S. public debt since 2001.
Future of the Newspaper?
We have already seen a number of very interesting uses of the NYT APIs, and we will surely see a lot of interesting and useful applications that will now make use of the Guardian's data. What is more interesting, however, is that some newspaper are clearly beginning to understand where the future of their business lies (the Guardian now also exposes full-text RSS for all of its sections). If anything, this feels like a far smarter way to go than the MediaNews Group's misguided attempt to put proprietary printers into readers' living rooms.