Don’t you just love the way how innovation and market development go hand in hand? One person comes up with a widget, someone else will copy it and make some improvements, someone else will come up with a brand new way to use it, but nevertheless the widget keeps getting improved and proves more value to the end user. It’s one example where competitive forces (conflict) provide impetus for improvement which ultimately influences the quality of our lives.
This morning I read that LinkedIn is planning to create an API for 3rd party developers to enhance their service. This seems to have been prompted by the fact that Facebook has sustained explosive growth since they opened up their API to developers and is eroding their marketshare. LinkedIn has been around for a number of years now and focuses predominetly in the professional space targeted mainly at career minded people and recruiters. Facebook seems to be more of a social gathering though I can see why LinkedIn would perceive them as a threat. Not only that, but even MySpace perceives them as a threat. It’s interesting to note, however, the amount of speculation about the future of social networking. Will LinkedIn and FaceBook merge? Is LinkedIn too late?
Will exposing an API ensure their success? It’s not as simple as that. They will need to add something new to the gain, and realise that they are really after a different audience to Facebook. Will an API be important for them? Hell yeah! As the industry moves towards? Internet 3.0, APIs will become the building blocks which encapsulate the value-add that these services can bring to play. Anyone who is not working towards this will simply be left behind!