The Data Deluge

Hilary Mason Breaks Down Bitly’s Social Data APIs for Real-Time Search and Attention Spikes


We’ve expected some big (data) developements from Bitly since the New York startup announced a $15 million Series C led by Khosla Ventures July. Today, chief data scientist Hilary Mason is finally ready to show you what they’re working with, empirically speaking.

The company announced the launch of three new data APIs that will radically boost the utility of the service for consumers and business clients. And it’s not even your birthday, data nerds! Read More

Goooood Morning Silicon Alley!

Best Tech Events This Week (Happy Holidays!)


This is a guest post from Gary Sharma (aka “The Guy with the Red Tie”), founder and CEO of GarysGuide and proud owner of a whole bunch of black suits, white shirts and, at last count, over 40 red ties. You can reach him at gary [at]

So we survived! The Mayan-predicted end-of-the-world-armaggedon-pocalypse was a no-show. Now it’s time to party! Of course, I still have a dozen cans of anti-zombie spray lying around… interested? :)

In the wake of the tragic Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings, Mayor Bloomberg and 750 other mayors have come together to create Demand A Plan to fight for gun safety. A ton of leaders from the tech industry, both here in New York and in Silicon Valley, have joined the cause including Craig Newmark (Craigslist), Fred Wilson (Union Square Ventures), Marc Benioff (SalesForce), Evan Williams (Twitter), Dennis Crowley (Foursquare), Caterina Fake (Flickr), Ben Horowitz (Andreessen Horowitz), Laurene Jobs, Randi Zuckerberg and many others. And a large-scale social media effort is underway, similar to how the industry came together during SOPA/PIPA. Read More

There's a Map for That

Amazon Releases Its Own Maps API: ‘Hey Guys, We Can Totally Do This Map Thing Too’

(Photo: Amazon)

When you think of Amazon, what comes to mind? Ebooks, next-day delivery and the Kindle probably float to the top, but what about maps? Not so much. But it turns out the online retailer wants to also nudge its way into the map game.

Today Amazon announced the release of the Amazon Maps API in beta, which allows select developers to integrate Amazon’s mapping technology into their own apps on the Kindle Fire. Read More

Harder Better Faster Stronger

4Chan Emerges From Its Dark Corner of the Internet with a Faster API

Moot (Photo: Austin 360)

4chan is a little stuck in web 1.0. Like Craigslist and even Ebay, its interface has been paused in the mid-aughts, making navigation a little less than intuitive. But that could change very soon. After returning to the fold to introduce a Q&A feature last month, 4chan ombudsman moot (nee Chris Poole) announced on the site’s blog today that he is releasing a read-only JSON API.

Mr. Poole said that 1.5 percent of 4chan’s traffic comes from extensions and third party apps, but those apps work primarily by parsing HTML. By releasing a JSON API, developers can begin to build third party clients–both mobile and desktop–that provide a more optimal 4chan reading experience and ostensibly run much faster than their HTML brethren. (Read-only means that developers can harness the API to allow users to read content from 4chan, but not allow them to post through third party apps.) Read More

Twitter Makes Clear Who’s in the Popular Club, Announces ‘Twitter Certified Products’

(Photo: Twitter Blog)

After making the rounds on its whirlwind tour of alienating everyone–by revoking API rights from products and developers left and right–Twitter would now like to tell you who is cool enough to meet its exacting standards. Today, the company launched “Twitter Certified Products,” tools and platforms for the microblogging service that it has deigned to approve of. Think Dick Costolo gave the CEOs of these companies BFF bracelets? Read More


Booting Up: Everyone’s Mad at Twitter Edition

(Photo: Maximum PC)

Twitter announced stricter API restrictions yesterday, confirming that it wants a “consistent Twitter experience.” Bad news for anyone who uses a 3rd party Twitter client! [BuzzFeed]

Oof…Facebook stock fell below $20 yesterday, following the end of a lockout. [Wall Street Journal]

NYC is second to San Francisco in terms of tech job growth. Aww, silver’s nothing to be ashamed of. There, there. [Crain’s]

WikiLeaks denies that the UK government has the authority to storm the Ecuadorian embassy and take Julian Assange. Oh, this is gonna be GOOD. [WikiLeaks]

Nintendo is socially evil, basically. [CNN]

API Wars

Twitter Strikes Back: No More ‘Find Your Friends’ Feature on Instagram

Look at Dorsey's intimidating stare. (Photo:

Let the games begin, my friends. Due to API restrictions, Twitter is no longer allowing Instagram app users to use the “Find Your Friends” feature to connect with their friends on Twitter. But Instagram doesn’t seem too bogged down by the news–possibly because it’s busy celebrating reaching 80 million users today.

The “Find Your Friends” feature is still available on other apps, including The Fancy and Foursquare. However, The Fancy only boast around one million users and Foursquare around 10 million, a fraction of the milestone Instagram reached today. Read More

API Economy

Aviary and Its API Saving 300+ Partners Some Serious Cheddar

Aviary's editor inside of Bigstock

What would it cost for a company to throw a photo editor into their mobile app? According to some of the partners working with Aviary, matching the effects they get from using their API would require quite the investment.

“I’d say it’s safe to estimate, to cover the range of options built into Aviary, it would take a good 4 to 6 months of dev time and then likely a single full time person just expanding the filter set, bug fixing and adding new stuff ongoing,” said Josh Lehman, Product Manager at OneLouder Apps, the creator of Friendcaster for Facebook.

That adds up to several hundred thousand dollars in costs. So it’s no surprise that Aviary, which produces a suite of simple, powerful photo editing tools for websites and mobile apps, has found a wealth of partners for its API and mobile SDK, now being used by over 300 partners after being released three months ago. Read More

This Happened

Cyborg Vision iPhone App Uses Facial Recognition to Let You Scan Your Friends Like a Terminator

Target acquired.

In the Venn diagram between techies and Terminator 2 fans, we’re guessing the overlap is oh, let’s say 100.00 percent. But a new iPhone app built by Silicon Alley’s Rich Cameron and Haris Amin might be the first time the two have officially merged.

Cyborg Vision, which made its App Store debut for the iPhone and iPad 2 this morning, uses the API and Facebook to let see the world around you like a cyborg assassin sent from the future. Its best trick is actually recognizing your Facebook friends and returning a red-screen in real time with their Facebook data that would make Skynet proud. Mr. Cameron and Mr. Amin, who both work at the health and fitness app DailyBurn, first developed the concept at the video hack day, where the app took first prize. They then spent weekends getting it Apple-ready. Read More

Metro Tech

Criticism of NYC OpenData: Pretty NYC WiFi Map, But Not Useful Beyond That


This is a guest post from Steven Romalewski who blogs at Spaciality. Mr. Romalewski directs the CUNY Mapping Service at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY).  A theme throughout his work over the past 20 years has been public access to data – identifying, obtaining, analyzing, and providing widespread access to data sets that help people understand their local environments. He has previously blogged about New York City’s OpenData initiative here.

@nycgov posted a tweet on Friday touting the map of WiFi hotspots on the new NYC OpenData site.  I was impressed the city was trying to get the word out about some of the interesting data sets they’ve made public. It was retweeted, blogged about, etc many many times over during the day.

The map is nice (with little wifi symbols  marking the location of each hotspot).  And it certainly seems to show that there are lots of hotspots throughout the city, especially in Manhattan.

But when I took a close look, I was less than impressed.  Here’s why: Read More