API, API and Widgets!

Recently I have received a lot of invitation emails from friends who want to add me on Facebook. Its spread and popularity is becoming really obvious. A Chinese FaceBook, Xiaonei.com, was launched last year but I have heard from friends that the original FaceBook is now becoming a hot site in China and it will be interesting to see how it develops. On the blog Digitalwatch by Ogilvy China they wrote a interesting post about what China is lacking from web 2.0, and that is open APIs (Application Programming Interfaces). Up to date has not even a big player like Baidu delivered a single non-commercial API. Which, according to Ogilvy China, means it’s missing out on an opportunity to encourage developers to hook into its framework.

Facebook has released their API that allows developes to write applications and widgets for it, and it has attracted a large amount of users, and even to those companies developing the services. Facebook has therefore become a platform for programming and many new services start there.

Widgets is also something that has basically exploded and it offers integration and easy access. Today a new service need to offer widgets fro a number of other portals and communities such as iGoogle, NetVibes, Facebook and MySpace. If they don’t others will steal that user group.

I know how I act myself when I try a new service. The first thing I look for is how I can use this service offline, integrate it with other services and access it from other applications. Remember the milk is innovative and was quick to add Google Gears to allow offline access. There are also widgets for a number of pages such as iGoogle and of course for the Dashboard in Mac OS X.

Another service I was recommended by a friend to try was Basecamp and High rise. First one for project management and the other one for CRM. Good services and very simple to use but what has limited my use is the lack of synchronization between address books. They do have widgets so you can keep an eye of todos and milestones.

I have in earlier posts mentioned my use of Google Calendar and Gmail. Syncing my cellphone with my computer has made it complicated to have everything updated everywhere. I just managed to solve this with Plaxo! Plaxo recently launched a new beta offering sync between a large number of services. So now I have Outlook, Google Calendar, My Mac OS X address book and iCal all synced. It has been a few glitches with double entries and calendars but it is the best option I so far have met.

So the development and evolution of online services and use is continuing. We have now entered into the era of integration, offline access and widgets. Hopefully we will also with the help of Apples iPhone soon have full web on mobile devices and be truly mobile.

~ by Andreas Sigurdsson on July 1, 2007.

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