Want to check out what foodies are reading in Brooklyn today? Or what football fans are reading in Tuscaloosa this morning? Bit.ly wants to help you track the movement of news and information in real time, and with the release of an API Tuesday, the company wants to help developers move this into their apps as well.
“The idea is that people will start to build real-time search into their applications,” said Hilary Mason, Bit.ly’s chief scientist, in an interview explaining the release. The company announced full details of the API in a blog post on its website Tuesday.
The company launched its real-time product to users this summer. It is available to users with Bit.ly accounts at rt.ly, where they can fill out various information fields to see which news stories are getting the most hits across the globe, or see which topics are popular. For instance, this is where you could search for food articles in Brooklyn, New York, United States, and see that something called a “Turkish bagel” is riling people up.
Now, with the release of this API, developers will be able to integrate the real-time search features into their apps, showing what information sent through Bit.ly is being read, where it’s being read, and how often. For instance, a publisher could show which of its articles are the most popular in a particular geographic area, or companies could track where around the globe consumers are reading about its product. Bit.ly’s real-time product also allows for the tracking of particular topics or phrases that are getting a good deal of attention via social media.
Of course, all of the tracked trends on what’s being read right now are necessarily stories tweeted from Bit.ly links, but that’s no insignificant measure. The company, which came from Betaworks, shortened 8.4 billion links in 2012. The company raised $15 million led by Khosla Ventures this summer, bringing its total funding to more than $28 million.
“Bit.ly is in a great position to see this kind of social data. We see a slice of what people are sharing and reading across the social web. So this is a way to start to put that power in the hands of people who can build interesting things with it,” she said.