What the new Google APIs mean to you now.

Last week, Google held a huge conference of geeky programmer types in order to make some surprising new announcements. Among these announcements was the release of new APIs for developers to jump in on and use. The new API sets Google decided to include were a brand new Latitude API, a Buzz API, and a Feed API.

So what is an API? API stands for Application Programming Interface. Pretty much, software is built in such a way that you can open up bitsand pieces of the software individually. So instead of going straight to the application or website that you need the service of, you can go elsewhere. This allows other people (3rd parties) to utilize some of the features that other web developers have created. For example, you don’t have to go on twitter everytime you tweet. That’s because twitter has opened its API to outside developers to create their own platforms on. So now we can go on Tweetdeck, CoTweet, Hootsuite, Brizzly, or one of the many numerous other twitter applications to tweet. That’s because twitter was nice enough to open up it’s API so that other software programmers can build in some (twitter decides how much) of the twitter functionality.

So you can see how this can be kind of a big deal. Opening an API is like giving developers a new toy, and with the APIs that Google released last week there could be a lot of playing to do. There is no telling what new innovative products will come from opening an API, but both Google and the 3rd party that dreams them up stand to gain. But how can you benefit from this?

Right now, just stay on the lookout. If you had previously been using Tweetdeck as your Twitter manager of choice, grab the update as it has utilized the new API sets already. You’re now able to Buzz and share your location on Google latitude straight from within Tweetdeck. In the days (weeks) to come, you’ll surely see more new advancements come out for each one of these API sets. Let’s take them individually with a few lighthearted predictions as to what you may expect:

Google Latitude — In case you haven’t heard of it (it’s pretty new) Google Latitude is Google’s attempt to get into the geo-location tagging game, sorta. It has decided not to take the check-in route so many others (like our beloved Foursquare) have pursued, but instead is trying to give an always-on always up to date view of where your friends are at any given point. it sounds kind of creepy, but it’s actually sort of cool. And unlike Buzz, there are some built in privacy settings.

What to expect: Latitude has some great potential. It also has the potential to absolutely EXPLODE the location scene. With its integration into Google Maps you can expect mash-ups (combination of two different company’s APIs to make one new site) galore. It will only be natural to have twitter embedded along side your location eventually. Store will be able to push out updates and offers to their friends in real time if they notice that they are close by. The Latitude API will allow for increased mobile marketing (the opt-in kind) and a hyper-awareness on where customers are and how to best reach them.

Google Buzz — Google Buzz is Google’s much criticized attempt to enter the social media and social sharing space. It is intended to allow people to better share their information and things that they find on the web. I’ve been using Google Buzz for a couple of weeks now and have found it to actually be very handy. It’s a great way to show others what you’re reading and what you think they might be interested in too. This is a great way to expose your thought leadership, another avenue with which to promote your blog, and a wonderful means of helping out your intended customer find what they need.

What to expect: Opening the API to Google Buzz means that it is no long constrained just inside of G-Mail. This makes Buzz a legitimate competitor to Twitter and even may steal market share from delicious and the likes. It is my understanding, though, that Buzz will soon become the 4th application sitting just outside of the big 3 (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn). It is a great way to share what you find on the web, but twitter still seems much more natural…at least for now. Expect location (Buzz has location features that may slightly outweigh twitter’s) to be a big push with Buzz offerings with user’s able to push what they physically experience to the internet easier in all forms of media.

Google Feed — Google is now looking to overtake basic RSS. It’s earlier APIs allowed for updating content but nowhere near in the fashion Google is pushing for now. Google Feeds were nice, but often slightly delayed and available for some things and not for others.

What to expect: Google has sped up its Feed process so that updates come as soon as they happen and come directly to the browser. This will allow businesses to stay better informed, and users to get the quickest updates possible. It turns the web into an always updated powerhouse where you’ll never have to leave the browser. This will certainly advance Google’s cloud initiative as well as their Chromium project (where they want to create a whole operating system that is just a browser). Google’s feed API will make the web like a 24/7 stock exchange, all living in the real time web. This can also enhance the internet of things, the idea that every appliance and tool you own could someday be internet ready and all talk to each other (the refrigerator runs out of milk, so it sends a message to your car’s GPS to plan a route to the store).

All of these things are very exciting and could certainly change the landscape of how businesses promote and stay on top of the latest trends. The only problem — we’re not quite there yet.

Written by

David is an avid social entrepreneur and Boston sports fanatic. He founded Diversified Data Technologies way back in 2009 and stuck around to see it grow. His party quarks include unnecessary dancing and being an overly hospitable host. When looking, he can be found capturing the twitterverse at @DLanphear, being professional on LinkedIn, or bouncing around town with Foursquare.

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