Pearson, the global publishing company behind the Financial Times and Penguin, today launches its new Plug & Play Platform, allowing developers to tap into the company’s content.

Pearson provides business information through the Financial Times Group, and consumer publishing through the DK brand, including educational materials and services.

The announcement was initially made back in May, with news of an API for its DK Eyewitness Guide to London. But today sees the official global launch, and three datasets have been made available on the platform: the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, the Dorling Kindersley (DK) Eyewitness Guide to London and the FT Press. Additional datasets will be added over time, based on developer feedback.

The aim of the initiative is to help inspire creatives to come up with new products and new ways of using, displaying and blending Pearson’s content. Showcase applications are available to demonstrate how the data could be used, for example one agency has created an Android App version of the Eyewitness Guide to London.

Before building a production application, developers can work in a sandbox, an isolated testing environment, and explore the content. A sandbox is available for each dataset and contains a subset of the full dataset. Once developers are ready to create a production application, they can call on each API for free with no authorisation required. After reaching a set threshold, they are charged on a pre-payment basis according to usage.

Diana Stepner, Head of Future Technologies at Pearson, says:

“We are very excited about the Plug & Play Platform’s potential for innovation. By giving developers access to such rich and valuable content, we hope to see real creativity that will help take our content forward in directions we haven’t explored before.”

The FT Press provides insights from books and original writings, in an electronic format, and the content is typically written by authors who are experts in their field. For example, The Truth About series sold more than 300,000 copies, Jerry Weissman’s Presentation books are international bestsellers, and the Rules series sold more than 1.5 million copies worldwide.

Pearson employs 36,000 people in more than 70 countries, and is listed on the London and New York stock exchanges.