Guardian Starting Developer Network, Headed By Yahoo’s McAlister

Guardian News & Media (GNM) is to launch a developer network to “offer data and tools for external developers”. A newspaper… starting a developer network… ? If that sounds more like something Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) would do, then, yes; Yahoo developer network head Matt McAlister is being hired to London from San Francisco for the job. He had managed Industry Standard and InfoWorld before joining Yahoo in 2005, spearheading an openness drive through APIs.

That’s understandable for an application-centric powerhouse like Yahoo, but what does a news publisher, whose output consists largely of text, need with a developer network of its own? The BBC has managed it – its Backstage initiative has yielded several hacks around weather, traffic and schedule data, as well as the basic news stories. As a publicly-funded broadcaster, it was almost duty-bound to go the openness route and has a broader array of content than The Guardian. Says The Graun, which, owned by a trust, has similar imperatives: “The next question for the Guardian would be to work out which assets would be most relevant to make available to the developer community.”

GNM technology director Mike Bracken (hired in November): “We want to allow people to connect, and will provide data that people they can reuse and be creative with a vehicle that will help engage smaller agencies and development team in other companies create applications.” Yahoo last month lost of advanced products VP Bradley Horowitz to Google.

Investments: Meanwhile, Guardian Media Group will be spending £100 million of last year’s £675 million windfall – from the sale of half of Trader Media – on non-advertising-related investments. It’s putting the money in to a fund managed by Cambridge Associates that will focus on ethical equities, gilts. (Via Times).