If ‘platforms‘ were a piece of clothing, it’d be safe to say that everybody’s wearing them.

News organizations are getting into the act too and The Guardian yesterday announced the launch of its Open Platform.

From the launch announcement:

We’ve opened up our platform to give access to our journalism, our brand, and the technologies that power guardian.co.uk. The first two services we are releasing as part of the platform are the Content API and the Data Store.

The Content API is a service that allows partners to select and collect content from the Guardian.

The Data Store is a directory of useful data curated by Guardian journalists.

Our aim is to make the Guardian Open Platform a useful service for anyone who creates for the internet.

The Content API gives developers access to The Guardian’s content database, from which they can pull articles in multiple formats for integration with their own applications.

The Data Store gives developers access to interesting data that The Guardian has compiled. This ranges from a database of university rankings to a database of Guardian/ICM poll results dating back to 1984.

As can be expected, there are terms and conditions that must be adhered to. Developers must first obtain an API key from The Guardian and are permitted 5,000 API calls per day.

The Guardian launched its platform with a number of partners, including Yahoo.

Like the New York Times, The Guardian is trying to capitalize on its content and brand in the digital world. Its content hasn’t gotten any less desirable; the internet has simply changed the dynamic in the market and it needs to make sure its offerings keep up.

I for one think it’s great that news organizations are experimenting with platforms like this.

But that doesn’t mean that everyone is completely satisfied with the way they’re building them. Dave Winer of Scripting News complained thatIf it were actually open they’d announce it to all developers at the same moment, so we could all try it out at the same time on a level playing field“. He also doesn’t like the fact that The Guardian states “API key approvals will be granted on a very limited basis, so please don’t be
offended if we fail to reply to you or don’t approve your request in the short

Much ado about nothing in my opinion. Organizations like The Guardian have valuable content and while it makes no sense to launch a platform that developers don’t find useful and worth working with, it’s understandable that there are going to be restrictions.

After all this isn’t Facebook we’re talking about here.