And finally eBay opens up, offers new APIs

You know Open Web (the trend formerly known as Web 2.0) has reached a point of maturity, when eBay, the auction giant decides to embrace it ethos. The company at the eBay Developer Conference in Boston announcedthat it has opened up its three core business units – eBay, PayPal and Skype to third party developers, hoping to catch some of the ‘open web’ magic. (This is something we had talked about earlier.)

EBay’s API offerings will give third party developers abilities to conduct searches, bids, alerts and a whole slew of other features from anywhere on the web. (Full list at the end of the post.)

The more interesting APIs however are coming from the PayPal group, which will enable mobile checkout. Similarly, Skype is going to be pushing something called Skype Extras, which are plug-ins written by independent third-party developers that let users expand Skype functionality and enrich their Skype conversations.

EBay’s moves, while welcome, show that the company is feeling the heat and losing ground to more “embrace-and-extend” services. As the web moves away from monolithic entities, eBay stands the risk of losing its core audience to social networks, blogs and other social media destinations.

The company’s decisions also indicate that it cannot be the solitary driver of innovation, and needs to tap into the web collective. EBay developers such as Unwired Buyer, Cooqy, and mpire are proof of what the developers can do for eBay.

eBay APIs announced today:

* eBay Shopping Web Services: a suite of faster, more responsive APIs that makes searching on eBay up to 16 times faster and allows developers to easily create buying applications
* eBay Bidding API: qualified developers can enable bidding on eBay from anywhere
* eBay Client Alerts: lightweight, near real-time alerts about platform activity
* New JavaScript and Flash Developer Centers: making it easier for JavaScript and Flash developers to access the eBay Web Services platform
* New Production Call Plan: access to API calls in the production environment raised from 10,000 per month to 150,000 per month, allowing new developers to rapidly scale up their applications.
* PayPal introduced a new suite of APIs, including Mobile Checkout, which allows developers to integrate any mobile website with the PayPal checkout process.
* PayPal introduced a new Name-Value Pair API that allows developers to integrate PayPal more easily and quickly into Web sites and applications, enhancing online commerce experiences and making PayPal more accessible to Web users everywhere.
* Skype Extras: are plug-ins written by independent third-party developers that let users expand Skype functionality and enrich their Skype conversations.
* Shopping.com announced plans for a re-architected API that will be available in Q3 2007, which will have a new easy-to-use interface, detailed documentation, and tools for faster implementations.

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