Imgur, the simple image sharing platform, has overhauled its API so that web, desktop and mobile developers can use the site’s hosting and image distribution infrastructure for their own image-based apps.
Launched in 2009 by Alan Schaff, Imgur offers free image hosting, paid Pro subscriptions and now a new robust API. The site is also a go-to place for those looking for an entertaining way to spend time online browsing the often amusing images posted by users.
Imgur grew in popularity via social sites like Reddit and Digg. In its early stages of development, Schaff wisely launched new features on these networks and in turn both sites users tend to use the service to host their images.
The company says that it has seen a trend among web and mobile application developers building apps around the user community’s insatiable interest in image sharing. The uptick in mobile application creation that needs content has spurred the company on to create its commercial API for developers.
To date, the Imgur has issued over 10,000 API keys. Developers have built tools and applications that range from desktop image uploaders to stand-alone mobile applications.
New features for the revamped API include simpler ways to log in through third-party applications via OAuth2 integration, access to all major site functions including new features released in the recent site upgrade and the benefit of the site’s standardisation so that developers of all sizes can make better use of what it has to offer.
Schaff says that the changes reflect Imgur’s goal to be sustainable and not reliant on any single revenue stream. He also notes that the new API reflects the site’s core values.
“Imgur’s infrastructure was built to support uploading and sharing images on a massive scale because that’s the nature of our business. We’re now simply opening up that existing platform to other developers so they can leverage what we’ve built to support their own applications. We’ve always focused first on what’s best for the Imgur community, and we think this is a great move for our developer community and for Imgurians at large.”
Imgur currently hosts all images for the Stack Exchange Network, a fast growing circuit of 92 question and answer sites on diverse topics from software programming to cooking to photography and gaming. The two have been in partnership since 2011.
Schaff points out that businesses of all sizes have the potential to gain in both performance and cost savings by choosing to use a provider that is focused on hosting and distributing images compared to standard web hosting companies.
With a handful of solid new features built into its API, it’s possible that Imgur will be seeing a lot more in the way of companies looking for its infrastructure to provide a reliable method of sharing and hosting images.