We've written a lot of times about developer platforms for the Web and we've reviewed a fair number of them. A web platform at its simplest is an API, allowing external developers to build on top of your web app or product. As we explained in our post APIs and Developer Platforms: A Discussion on the Pros and Cons, "offering an API is a great way to make developer friends and developing for a large Platform has the potential to bring your work to a huge audience."
1. Imeem Developer Platform: Music
Major social networking site Imeem launched a developer platform in March that will enable read/write access to user information and more. Imeem is a site where users can upload music, create and listen to any uploads and blog about music all for free. Imeem pays internet radio-style licensing fees for each time a copyrighted song is played.
2. YouTube Platform: Online Video
The video uploading platform announced by YouTube in March may not have been what many pundits expected but it could mark a major turning point for both YouTube and thousands of other sites around the web.
By allowing website owners to combine an on-site video publishing option for their users with the huge number of people looking to discover new content on YouTube, the platform will create a mutually beneficial feedback loop that will breathe new life into both YouTube and the web at large. It's also got potential to show up all the other big platform plays we've seen to date.
3. Fire Eagle: Yahoo's Location Platform
Earlier this month Yahoo announced that the closed beta period for itslocation platform Fire Eagle had ended and that the service was now open for everybody.. Since then, a number of high-profile services, including Brightkite, Movable Type, Dopplr, and Pownce have implemented Fire Eagle through the numerous APIs Yahoo provides for accessing the service.
As we wrote about Fire Eagle when the beta was first announced, it offers API kits in five different programming languages, it's got user authorization protocols already available for web, desktop and mobile apps and it's using the open standards community built oAuth to facilitate faster, more secure mashups. This ain't no cry-baby do it my way or I'm taking my ball and going home framework like the Facebook platform. This is leveraging universal open standards.
4. Mozilla Weave: Web Platform for User Data
Mozilla recently announced Weave, a new web platform that will store users' browser metadata in a cloud environment for access anywhere. Weave is a "framework for services integration" that will, according to Mozilla, "focus on finding ways to enhance the Firefox user experience, increase user control over personal information, and provide new opportunities for developers to build innovative online experiences."
The basic idea is that browser metadata (things stored in your Firefox profile like bookmarks, history, RSS feeds, usernames and passwords, etc.) is pushed into the cloud and stored on Mozilla's servers. The data is available to users from wherever they get online and users can share information with friends, family, or third parties while retaining control over how, when, and if the info is shared.
5. Live Mesh: Microsoft's Multi-device Platform
The new Live Mesh service launched in April as an invite only "technology preview". It is Microsoft's attempt to tie all of our data together. Live Mesh synchronizes data across multiple devices (currently just Windows computers, but theoretically it will extend to mobile and other devices in the future) as well as to a web desktop that exists in the cloud. It can sync data across devices used by a single users, as well as create shared spaces for multiple users. On the surface, Mesh is a lot like competing file sync services such as Dropbox, SugarSync (which we covered in January), and even Microsoft's own FolderShare product. But what sets Live Mesh apart is its platform approach.
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