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APIs: The Building Blocks of the Future

APIs: The Building Blocks of the Future

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Published by Digital Lab
Two weeks ago we released an infographic showing the life of a normal person as we imagine it in 2025. The kinds of automated services illustrated in that graphic that will appear over the next decade are all enabled by the same piece of technology: the API. What APIs, or Application Programming Interfaces, do is provide programmers with a simple way of connecting their programming into the data and services of an existing program. Any websites that embed Google or Facebook logins are accessing an API provided by Google or Facebook to authenticate users' identities. Similarly, as personal data becomes stored in the cloud, companies with permission to access such data are increasingly plugged in to their consumers' changing status and needs.

Beyond just explaining how APIs are driving technological advancements across every industry, our latest Digital Lab Thought Piece provides useful tips for any business on navigating a world based on APIs - whether that means activating the APIs that are already out there, or building one of your own to create new revenue stream or make your services indispensable.
Two weeks ago we released an infographic showing the life of a normal person as we imagine it in 2025. The kinds of automated services illustrated in that graphic that will appear over the next decade are all enabled by the same piece of technology: the API. What APIs, or Application Programming Interfaces, do is provide programmers with a simple way of connecting their programming into the data and services of an existing program. Any websites that embed Google or Facebook logins are accessing an API provided by Google or Facebook to authenticate users' identities. Similarly, as personal data becomes stored in the cloud, companies with permission to access such data are increasingly plugged in to their consumers' changing status and needs.

Beyond just explaining how APIs are driving technological advancements across every industry, our latest Digital Lab Thought Piece provides useful tips for any business on navigating a world based on APIs - whether that means activating the APIs that are already out there, or building one of your own to create new revenue stream or make your services indispensable.

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Published by: Digital Lab on Nov 27, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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12/07/2013

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API
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November 2013
BUILDING BLOCKS OF THE FUTURE
 
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20132025
 
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How do they do that?
You may wonder how Apple’s Siri or Google Now works its magic behind the scenes. It’s more than the voice recognitionalthough that’s actually not too shabby. Somehow, it’s able to take action for you across your day: adding events to calendars, calling people, sending messages, knowing where traffic is and how to avoid it, and answering cryptic queries for information. And they keep getting better, and adding more services rapidly. How do they make that easy?Or, you may notice your customers using Mint to visualize their financial data, and betterment.com to track progress towards goalshow do they work together? How does someone sign into one site using a completely other site like Facebook? How do I post an Instagram photo of the Spicy Basil Chicken dish from my Foursquare login to my Facebook timeline? How does an ad for Burberry I see on my weather app know it’s raining where I am?Maybe your neighbor suddenly got a site built in a weekend for his non-profit, and it collects user accounts, has newsletters, and makes money from purchases of books from Amazon. How did that happen? Does he have 20 developers in his basement?The answerin an acronymis APIs
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. Driven by a need to access and integrate data stored in the cloud, by startups building cloud-services and by the need to build mobile apps, people are rapidly adding APIs to their applications and making them available publically. APIs allow developers to build on your data and services, and in turn allow others to build on theirs. Other platforms aggregate this functionality into even more useful services, just as you can aggregate theirs. Businesses with APIs are suddenly connected with and adding value on top of other businesses, and serving their customers in new and interesting ways. Or, like Amazon, seeing an entire new revenue stream emerge.So, what’s an API?
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Which is a TLA for “Applica
 
tion Programming Interface”

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