Socialcast has released their official API today, opening up their real-time enterprise collaboration platform to developers for the first time.
Socialcast's basic collaborative feature set isn't in dire need of enhancement through an API. But what it will definitely bring is a higher level of customization and better access to the real-time stream of information it's aimed at creating within the enterprise.
This enterprise 2.0 startup prefers to be compared to the now-acquired FriendFeed, rather than be labeled a Twitter for business. That comparison could continue to hold true even after the release of the API.
Currently 80% of Twitter's traffic comes via the API, and that's because the native Web interface pretty much sucks. But in both FriendFeed and Socialcast, the functionality that is built in is enough to satisfy most of their customers. If Socialcast customers don't need the API in order to get even a few advanced features, then there's two basic views to take on it:
1. A higher level of customization for the enterprise. If there's one thing enterprise customers find attractive, it's an already robust platform that can be augmented to meet their specific requirements. As Socialcast's blog post puts it, "we hope that our clients will enjoy creating their own applications that fit into their company's workflow and needs."
2. Easier access to the real-time stream. As a platform approach, rather than just a microblogging tool, Socialcast is pushing hard on the fact that their software creates a dynamic, collaborative flow of real-time information within the enterprise. Giving users more direct access to that stream enhances the platform's effectiveness. As the first example of that kind of easier access, their official desktop app is built through the API.
Socialcast, which recently switched to a freemium model, may be facing many of the same hurdles that standalone microblogging tools like Yammer are (Yammer also has an API).
But today's announcement is one more step on the road to seriously competing with larger intranets that have integrated micro-messaging and other real-time features into their platforms.