I came across this story today, “Yahoo Opens Address Book Interface.” A quote:
Yahoo is opening the interface for its address book for outside use…For example, a programmer starting up a social networking site could use the interface to send invitations to a member’s list of contacts stored at Yahoo. Yahoo users have stored more than 500 million address books, and the service is used by more than 150 million unique users each month. Opening the address book API (application programming interface) is the second major step taken so far in executing the Yahoo Open Strategy that Chief Technology Officer Ari Balogh announced in April 2008. Yahoo Open Strategy is an attempt to link the company more with other Internet activities rather than remain a sealed-off, if sprawling, Internet domain. Through its open strategy, the company envisions outside programmers building Web applications on Yahoo’s site, Yahoo services being incorporated into outside applications, and social connection information within Yahoo being used more widely.
This article is not so interesting from a technology perspective — after all, Web service APIs are pretty common nowadays. What’s fascinating to me is the positioning of this decision from a business perspective, and how Yahoo! hopes to enhance its brand, increase its business, and continue to capture Web presence as it allows competitors and collaborators to access a key information source — its customers’ contact information. I hope they’re successful, and we see more of this kind of interoperability in the future.
This story reminded me that I hope to see more integration between geo-oriented sites. Just about everyone from Google to Microsoft to FortiusOne lets you create geodata and output KML, but as far as I know you can’t mix, match or merge data sets from different sites (except visually, of course).