Tuesday, May 27, 2008
NY Times Invites Programmers to Build Reader Tools
The New York Times finally figured out what technology companies have known for a long time: sometimes your users know way more than you do.
The venerable paper announced it would release an API, which is a set of protocols that will allow programmers who don't work for the organization to develop software applications that use the NY Times information.
Tech companies have done this for years, allowing its users to build applications as a way to expand services without a lengthy development process controlled in-house.
The press has hailed this is a progressive move and it would have been ten years ago in technology circles. Now, it just serves to remind us how far behind our traditional media sources are.
Of course, some of that is mitigated by the copyright fight Viacom is having with Google's YouTube, which smacks of familiarity for anyone who remembers the Recording Industry vs. Napster and the Motion Picture Industry vs. Scour.
In both cases, the entertainment industry determined it was better to shut down the file-trading services than work with the companies to create new distribution paths for music and movies.
Time after time, entertainment conglomerates have sought to battle with technology companies about distribution instead of finding a mutually beneficial way for each to co-exist and create new ways for people to find, experience and share content.
We're not clear how far the Times will go in allowing software developers to create new applications and users to remix information they cull from the site; however, the technology industry will be watching closely to see if this is simply a cosmetic move or an actual admission that centralized control doesn't work in a digital world.
By brad at 10:46 AM | Comments (2)