This article was published on February 17, 2011

Round-Up of 5 Cool API’s for Developers

Round-Up of 5 Cool API’s for Developers
Brodie Beta
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Brodie Beta

Brodie Beta is a technology enthusiast with a passion for gadgets, media and anything related to the Web. She has worked in communications Brodie Beta is a technology enthusiast with a passion for gadgets, media and anything related to the Web. She has worked in communications and media for the past nine years. Follow her on twitter here .

An API (application programming interface) can assist developers in creating a richer experience for their users and, by offering developers access to an API, it can also increase the chances that the service itself will be successful. Below we’ve rounded up a few API’s you might find useful.

Face Recognition, the creators of Phototagger and Photofinder Facebook applications, offers a free face recognition API for photos. This API will detect, recognize and tag faces in any photo.

Since its recent move from alpha to beta, developers now have the ability to scan 5,000 photos per hour. The features include face grouping, bulk / batch tagging, and Facebook and Twitter integration enabling developers to create apps that recognize friends across social networks. points out on its developer blog that users can also use the API to recognize Facebook friends within Flickr photos.

Face’s API

Dictionary, Thesaurus and Related Words

Wordnik, is an online dictionary site that provides definitions, a thesaurus, pronunciations, and it’s even able to translate a words to almost every language.

The Wordnik API has just gone Beta in the last week and it comes with major infrastructural changes and improved more complex processing. Using this API, developers can integrate its features within their apps to request definitions, example sentences, word auto-completion, synonyms, antonyms and more. If you’re developing an app that uses words, it might be a cool feature to add.

Wordnik’s API

Animation API for Augmented Reality

Layar, the folks behind the augmented reality browser (Layar) have recently released version 5.0 in beta and the newest iteration includes a new animation API and a customizable sharing API.  The new API for animation gives developers the option to make interactive objects come to life with 3D animations, and it offers numerous predetermined effects to try.

Layar’s sharing API enables devs to customize their layar to post messages straight to social networks including Facebook and Twitter and as Layar points out, “your layers get pushed into the spotlight and drives additional traffic.” Screenshots, status updates of achievements and your favourite layars can all be posted to social networks using the sharing API.

Layar’s Animation API
Layar’s Sharing API

An API That Brings a Wealth of Data

Wolfram Alpha, the computational knowledge engine offers an API that can bring a wealth of data to your application. In 2009, Wolfram’s API was integrated into Microsoft’s search engine Bing, providing users with better search results when they searched topics such as nutrition and health.

Last month Wolfram Alpha released its API version 2.0, a new version that gave developers full access to its Java language client library and new improved features that were designed to speed up the end-user experience.  By integrating this API with your app, you could bring your users a huge amount of information on any topic. It’s something that Touch Press did to enhance its popular iPad apps; The Elements and Solar System.

Wolfram’s API

Real-Time Streams API; Twitter, Facebook, FriendFeed, RSS

Cadmus, is a real-time news service that helps you stay on top of content, displaying relevant content from your Twitter, RSS, and FriendFeed streams. Simply, it keeps you in touch with the news. It additionally offers a cool feature that filters the information so that when you check in, you aren’t required to scroll through pages of similar posts or stuff you’ve already seen.

The Cadmus API brings devs things like the ability to curate posts, trends, comments and find relevant tweets. By using the API, the streams you create can be taken anywhere.

The problem we are trying to solve here is that we don’t have all day to stay on top of these social media services. Most people check into these services ever so frequently. And every time they do, they have to scroll through pages of posts to find out what’s going on.

Cadmus’ API

In last few weeks, we reported two additional API’s that we think are worth checking out.  The read-it-later service Instapaper and the social photo network Instagram now both have full API’s available.

If you know of a cool API please share it with us in the comments.

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