Home Wanted: An API for Sharing

Wanted: An API for Sharing

Kassi is a service that enables users to share items, rides, etc. within a community. It’s similar to several other services, such as NeighborGoods, Share Some Sugar and Freecycle. But with so many sharing sites, it’s hard to figure out where to turn. If I wanted to borrow a power drill in Portland, I’d need to search each of these sites individually.

In a blog post at Sharable Kassi co-founder Juho Makkonen, proposed a common API that would enable users to search multiple sharing sites at once.

“We would have to define an ontology that maps all the resources that can be shared (stuff, skills, space) and their subtypes and properties related to them,” he writes.

Makkonen suggests that a site could use the common API to show search results from another site. “For example, if you were searching for a certain tool from NeighborGoods and did not find it, the search would then return results from Share Some Sugar and Freecycle.”

Makkonen compares the idea to OpenSocial, but perhaps the Google Product Search data feed is a better model.

Either way, as Makkonen points out, it’s not a perfect idea:

When actually borrowing the item, the users would still need to sign up for those services. They would not be able to take their data from the original service with them. This data would include feedback received from other users and other information that is vital to facilitate sharing. A person with an excellent reputation as a frequent lender and a trustworthy borrower in NeighborGoods would become a suspicious newbie in Share Some Sugar.

Makkonen suggests a distributed data storage system silimar to Diaspora could be used.

What do you think – would this be helpful? Anyone already hacking away on something like this?

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