In part three of his five part piece on Media Futures, Majestic Research co-founder and former Entrepreneur in Residence at Flatiron Partners, Seth Goldstein comments on the development of the Web API.
As of 2005, the Internet has replaced the desktop PC as the primary platform for APIs. Unlike Microsoft and the desktop, however, nobody controls the web as a platform; although certain companies do oversee enormous pools of user data and have the opportunity to direct such traffic as they see fit.
He goes on to list several examples of traditional websites (Amazon, Google, EBay, etc) publishing an open API to yield secondary applications developed by the general public. He goes on to call the web-based API, put into the hands of the developing public,
the hinge between the algorithm that processes raw human meta data and the moment of alchemy that occurs when you discover something you didn’t even know you were looking for, courtesy of some people that you didn’t even know that you knew.
It’s John Battelle’s Database of Intentions set free by a collection of vendors & search engines which open up their data so that it can be collated and analyzed in new and exciting ways.