You may have heard, a company called RockMelt announced a browser last week, even calling it a “social browser.” Thanks in part to Marc Andreessen’s VC firm funding it, the product got a lot of media attention. Big deal. Browsers don’t matter anymore. Here’s why not.
As we’re coming to rely on various web apps to an ever-greater extent in our day-to-day work lives, the impact on our productivity of these apps failing increases. Recently, I’ve been thinking about how interconnected some of the web apps we use are becoming, too.
USA Today is the latest media company to open up its data via an API, the software interface that makes it easy for developers to use another company’s data in applications. The newspaper joins a group that includes The Guardian, the New York Times and NPR.
While newspapers like the New York Times are putting up paywalls, The Guardian in Britain is not only giving its content away to readers but to developers, too, through its open API. Developer Chris Thorpe says the idea is to turn the paper into a platform.
Kids, stay in school! At least if you’re at NYU’s IPT program, that is, because its students can actually get credits for developing apps for Boxee, as NYU’s Shawn Van Every told the audience of the TV of Tomorrow Show in San Francisco today. The school partnered with Boxee last fall to develop a number of apps that ended up being showcased at the startup’s Boxee Beta unveiling in Brooklyn. Shawn Van Every was joined on the panel by a number of small and big industry players to talk about newteevee innovation happening on campus.
Verizon (s VZ) FiOS TV Director of Interactive Video Services Maitreyi Krishnaswamy reported that the company has been reaching out to academic institutions as well. “We would love to be the incubator for these innovative applications,” she said, explaining that Verizon started the beta version of its FiOS developer program in October. It has since launched 25 apps on FiOS. “That is big in the cable industry,” Krishnaswamy said. Boxee co-founder Idan Cohen was quick to chime in and report that there are now over 300 apps available on his own company’s platform. “Everyone has a Facebook and Twitter app,” he said. “That’s not interesting.”
Read More about Your Next Class Project: A Boxee or FiOS App?
I’ve had a rant building up for a few weeks. A rant about developer’s treatment at the hands of the App Store submission procedure. However unlike many rants on the topic, mine is not directed towards Apple (s aapl). It is directed towards the iPhone developers who complain about the poor, unfair treatment they get, carrying their bleeding hearts in their palms while claiming Apple is bludgeoning the life out of them.
Two recent news headlines, seemingly separate, are intrinsically tied together and the synergy of them have made my eyes dislocated from the continued rolling they involuntarily perform.
The first headline, Facebook Developer Turns Back on iPhone relates how another high-profile developer has thrown their hands up in disgust over how Apple’s closed system runs against their principles. A direct quote from Joe Hewitt, developer of the popular Facebook application can be found on TechCrunch, and is most relevant. I will come back to this later:
I respect their right to manage their platform however they want, however I am philosophically opposed to the existence of their review process.
The second headline is Apple’s App Store Approval Process Now Includes an Automated Layer. The quick version is that Apple is now using an automated tool to determine if the Apps that developers submit to the App Store are using any Private API calls. Read More about Cut the Drama: Private APIs, the App Store & You
PayPal is opening up substantial parts of its global transactional engine, extending the open platform dubbed “PayPal X,” company executives announced this morning at PayPal’s X Innovate 2009 developer conference in San Francisco. PayPal developers and users now have access to a slew of new APIs, ranging from an extended version of the Adaptive Payments API that PayPal made available in July, to an Adaptive Accounts API designed to make it easier for people to sign up for accounts. The APIs, technical documentation, sample applications and more are available at PayPal’s X.com web site.
PayPal’s move to open its platform has been under way for some time, and it represents an important shift in the company’s strategy. It may usher in new breeds of payment-centric applications, including ones focused on microtransactions and mobile payments. In-application payments, which Apple (s aapl) is now allowing in iPhone apps, are also a focus for the PayPal X platform. Read More about PayPal’s (Partially) Open Platform to Usher in New Payment Models & Apps
Joost has informed its users via email that it will discontinue the support of its desktop client today and instead completely concentrate on its new web site. This is a big step for a company that once aimed to revolutionize online video with P2P technology, and whose founders previously succeeded with P2P apps like Kazaa and Skype. But it’s way too early to declare the death of P2P video streaming, as some seem eager to do in light of Joost shifting course.
Not only are others far more successful with P2P video clients, but it looks like Joost may bring back some elements of its software sooner or later. This includes P2P distribution, but also other social and interactive features that made Joost’s software unique. Maybe we’ll have to hold off writing the obituaries for both Joost and P2P just a little longer.