So, what’s these two pictures? The one to the left is NRK’s official service for Windows Media Center Online Spotlight. The one to the right is a very unofficial NRK media center plugin for Meedio.
As mentioned in my post about Webshots and Flickr, one of the reasons why Flickr succeed is because they have a powerful open API. I have linked the acronym API to Wikipedia for the people that want to know more. The quick version: API is short for Application Programming Interface. It gives programmers a possibility to build new services on top of the service that provides an API. Google provides an API. In other words: people can build new services on top of Google. An example is the classic google fight.
Even without an API it is fairly easy to build new services on regular web pages. A plugin for Firefox called Greasemonkey puts this into a system with special scripts for adjusting and editing web pages as you visit them. Currently there are more than 400 000 scripts out there. Doing anything from removing the side bars of Slashdot.org to building advanced price comparing capabilities on Amazon.com. Wired magazine has an excellent article on Greasemonkey, explaining the details.
As the internet users get more advanced and the tools and programming languages become easier to use things like these happen. The BBC has experienced a lot of unauthorized remixing of their content and have been running around closing down web sites that is built on top of their news services and programme tables. Not anymore:
They decided to turn around and actually encourage people to make new services. They made BBC Backstage. By providing an API and helping the people that wanted to make new services utilizing the beeb’s content they also gained a lot more control of all these new services that was remixing their content. In addition to this they get a lot of creative ideas for new official services from the BBC. Some examples of user built services:
Mixing up the BBC’s TV listings with Google Maps, to produce a map that shows what locations will be on TV soon.
BBC Programme Similarity Visualiser
Using the schedule and programme data, this prototype allows a user to locate programmes which are similar to one another and presents this in an easy to understand and interactive visual form.
BBC Mood News
Mood News – BBC News Headlines Auto-Classified as Good, Bad or Neutral.
And what about Flickr. Have people made something interesting? Indeed.
Spell With Flickr
Write a word and get it spelled out with pictures from Flickr:
As for the unofficial NRK Meedio plugin. Right now NRK does not provide an open API. The Meedio plugin is another example of the fact that services like these will exist. As long as you publish something on the net it means that people can start building stuff. It is in the nature of the net.